Perry's prove too much for Lady Mustangs in NEA Semifinals

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Madison Greathouse is fouled by Marked Tree's Jay Perry at the 67th Annual NEA Tournament in Jonesboro.

Marked Tree held off a determined effort by Buffalo Island Central's Lady Mustangs to come away with a hard fought 58-53 victory in Division 1 semifinal action of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro.

Lady Indian teammates Jay and Lexi Perry combined for 38 points to help send Marked Tree into the finals for the third consecutive year.

BIC's Taylor McKuin gave the Lady Mustangs an early 4-3 edge with a pair of inside buckets, but Jay and Lexi Perry combined to outscore BIC 9-7 the rest of the quarter to give the defending NEA champions a 12-11 lead after the first period of play.

Karo Thomas fires a fade-away jumper over the outstretched arms of Marked Tree's 6'3" Lexi Perry in NEA Tournament action

Hannah Poe's three pointer to begin the second quarter put BIC back on top 14-12, but a basket by Jay Perry and a three point play from 6'3" post Lexi Perry gave the Lady Indians a three point advantage. Jay Perry's lay-up increased the Marked Tree lead to five, before Karo Thomas scored on a nice give and go from McKuin, to cut the lead to 19-16 at the 3:42 mark.

Led by the Perrys, Marked Tree went on a 9-1 run to grab their biggest lead of the night, 28-17, with 1:34 left in the half. But the Lady Mustangs fought back when McKuin sank a pair of charity tosses, followed by a Madison Greathouse jumper just inside the three point line, to cut the Lady Indian lead to 28-21 at the half.

Thomas continued the BIC comeback, beginning the third period with a three point play to chop the Indian lead to four. Back to back McKuin buckets sliced the Lady Indian advantage to two, before Greathouse tied the game, 32-32, on a three pointer at the 4:40 mark.

The two teams would be tied once more, 35-35, before Marked Tree finished off the quarter, going on a 7-1 run, capped off by Jay Perry's second three point play of the period, giving the Lady Indians a 42-36 lead heading into the final frame.

Marked Tree slowly began to build its lead in the fourth quarter, and held a 52-42 advantage when Lexi Perry muscled her way to an inside basket at the 3:38 mark. BIC would not quit, and went on a 7-1 run, starting when Greathouse canned a three pointer and ending with another three, this time from Hannah Poe, slicing the Indian lead to 53-49 with 1:40 left in the game.

All-NEA Tournament teammates Hannah Poe and Taylor McKuin in action against Marked Tree in the semifinals of Division 1 girls play.

BIC, forced to foul, sent Marked Tree to the line 10 times in the final 90 seconds, where the Lady Indians made just enough free throws to hang on for the win.

McKuin recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Mustangs. Thomas and Poe also hit double digits with 14 points apiece while Greathouse finished with eight. BIC made 12-19 foul shots and drained five three pointers.

Jay Perry led Marked Tree with 24 points while Lexi Perry added 14 more. The Lady Indians hit 10-20 free throws and made two three pointers.

McKuin and Poe were both selected to the All-Tournament team.

BIC will return to the hard court Monday night when they travel to Rector to face the NEA Champion Lady Cougars in a 2A-3 conference matchup. The Lady Mustangs will journey to Augusta Friday night for another conference tilt.

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