Warriors stun Mustangs in NEA quarterfinals
East Poinsett County played like the Warriors of old in Saturday night's Northeast Arkansas Invitational quarterfinal showdown with Buffalo Island Central on the floor of the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University. Led by a balanced scoring attack featuring four players in double figures, EPC stunned the second seeded Mustangs 65-62 to advance to Tuesday's semifinals against third seeded Marmaduke.
EPC didn't secure the victory until Seth Eatmon's three point heave at the buzzer fell short, allowing the Warriors to avoid overtime and hang on for the win.
BIC held an early 7-6 edge midway through the opening quarter, but Clay Malone's three pointer gave EPC a lead they would never relinquish. Montrell James and Malone ripped consecutive three treys as the Warriors closed the opening stanza with a 20-11 advantage.
EPC built its lead early in the second period to 15 points, 26-11, before the Mustangs began whittling away at the lead. Austin Pike, who led all scorers with 30 points, teamed with Alan Carmichael to pull BIC to within 35-28 at intermission.
Seth Eatmon scored eight points in the third period, helping the Mustangs close the gap to 47-42 on the senior guard's three pointer with 3:20 left in the quarter. But the Warriors answered on a seven foot Dez Barnes runner and a steal and lay-up at the buzzer from T.J. Young to take a 51-42 lead into the final frame.
BIC engineered a fourth quarter rally, thanks to Pike, who pumped in 15 points during the period to spark the comeback. Reed gave EPC a 54-42 lead with a three point play to begin the quarter, before Pike started his scoring spree, pouring in eight consecutive points to close the Mustang deficit to 57-51 at the 4:11 mark.
Eatmon drove for a basket following a Warrior turnover to slice the EPC lead to 57-53, but Malone answered with his second trey of the night, giving the Warriors a 60-53 advantage with 3:30 left in the game. Pike drove the lane for a bucket at the 3:07 mark, and Cory Turner put in a reverse layup with 1:37 left to pull BIC to within 60-57.
BIC still trailed by three late in the game when Malone went to the line to shoot a double bonus with 16 ticks left on the clock. Malone made one of two foul shots to push the Warrior lead to 63-59. Pike's 30-footer with nine seconds left chopped the EPC lead to 63-62 as Mustang Coach Bill Taylor called timeout to set his defense.
On the inbounds play, EPC's Dez Barnes fired a baseball pass that Reed caught in full stride. The 6'3" sophomore laid the ball off the glass, pushing the lead back to three, 65-62, with just six seconds showing. The Warriors survived Eatmon's desperation three point attempt and celebrated the victory.
Joining Pike in double figures for BIC was Eatmon, who scored 19 points. Carmichael finished with nine while Turner had four. The Mustangs hit 14-20 foul shots and drained six three pointers.
Reed and Malone led EPC with 15 points apiece while James and Barnes added 11 and 10 points respectively. The Warriors canned 10-18 foul shots and knocked down seven three pointers on the night.
BIC vs. Maynard
Buffalo Island Central couldn't have found the going any easier in their NEA Tournament opener Friday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. The second seeded Mustangs thundered to a 19-1 lead and romped past an out-manned Maynard squad, 76-29.
Adrian Lopez' three pointer ignited a 12-0 BIC run to begin the game, before a Dakota Loggains free throw at the 3:52 mark broke the Maynard scoring drought. But it would be the only point of the first quarter for the 15th seeded Tigers.
The Mustangs closed the opening period by drilling three consecutive three pointers, one each by Seth Eatmon, Dax Hurst and Austin Pike to take a 25-1 lead after the first break.
BIC continued to pour it on the second quarter, and held a 29-1 lead at the 6:19 mark following a Pike bucket. The Tigers finally got untracked offensively, but the Mustangs still held a commanding 35-13 advantage at the half.
Seven different Mustangs put points on the board in the third stanza, as BIC outscored Maynard 26-11 to take a 61-24 lead into the final frame. BIC emptied the bench in the fourth period and coasted home with a 47 point victory and a berth in the quarterfinals Saturday night against a familiar foe in East Poinsett County.
BIC put 11 players in the scoring column, led by Pike and Alan Carmichael who scored 13 points apiece. Eatmon also hit double digits with 10 points. Trey DePriest scored eight, Lopez, Cory Turner and Trevor Couch tallied six points each. Bobby Mondragon contributed five, Tyler Parker tallied four, Dax Hurst chipped in three while Lane Crites added two points. The Mustangs connected on 5-10 foul shots and drained nine three pointers on the night.
Dylan Powell topped the Tigers with 10 points while Loggains added nine. Maynard hit 11-19 free throws and canned four treys. The Tigers committed a staggering 25 turnovers on the evening.