Lady Mustangs gain NEA Tourney win, outgunning Rector 48-44

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Lady Mustang Heather Sipes drains a three pointer during BIC's 48-44 victory over Rector in the first round of the NEA Tournament Saturday at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.

Buffalo Island Central and Rector waged war in a three point duel in the first round of the Division II Girls portion of the 69th Annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center on the campus of Arkansas State University.

When the smoke had settled, the two teams had combined for 19 three pointers, 11 by the Lady Cougars and eight from the Lady Mustangs. But in the end, it was BIC who came out on top with a hard fought 48-44 victory.

Heather Sipes poured in a game high 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to power BIC into the second round of Northeast Arkansas' most prestigious tournament.

BIC bolted to a 9-1 lead to begin the game, thanks to three consecutive treys, two by Sipes and one from Blaire Wildy. But the Lady Cougars charged back, banging home three triples of their own to slice BIC's lead to 12-10 after the first quarter.

The two teams continued their three point barrage in the second stanza. Wildy, Sipes and Madison Nowlin buried three treys in a row to push the BIC lead to 21-13 midway through the quarter. Not to be outdone, Rector drained four straight threes, including three by Matison Dean and another from Tori Hill to trim the Lady Mustang lead to 23-22 with 1:17 left in the half. BIC held a slim 25-23 advantage at intermission.

Hill began the third quarter by ripping a long three pointer to put the Lady Cougars on top, 26-25. But the Lady Mustangs answered with a 7-2 run, capped off by Nowlin's triple at the 3:33 mark, putting BIC on top, 32-28. The BIC advantage remained at four, 37-33, entering the final frame.

Both teams cooled off a bit in the fourth period before Dean's three pointer at the 3:22 mark cut a five point BIC lead down to 41-39. Baskets by Wildy and Sipes increased the Lady Mustang advantage to six with one minute to go, and the Lady Cougars could get no closer than three the rest of the way.

Wildy joined Sipes in double digits, scoring 12 points, while Nowlin and Jona Carmichael added eight and six point respectively. BIC struggled from the line, hitting just four of 10 attempts.

Hill led Rector with 15 points while Dean added 14 more. Colby Lynch also hit double digits, scoring 11. The Lady Cougars made three of five foul shots.

BIC advances to Saturday's second round, when the Lady Mustangs will face top seeded Bay. Tipoff is set for 1:30.

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