Clutch free throw shooting helps Mustangs hold off EPC
Buffalo Island Central used a strong performance from the free throw stripe to withstand a furious fourth quarter East Poinsett County rally, holding off the Warriors 68-65 in 2A-3 conference action Saturday afternoon at the Mustang Athletic Complex in Monette.
The Mustangs, who never trailed in the game, led 13-9 after the opening quarter before increasing their margin in the second period behind the combined 15 point effort of Trey DePriest and Travon Cobb, giving BIC a 28-17 halftime advantage.
The Warriors battled back in the third period, slicing the Mustang lead to 29-25, getting a pair of buckets from J'Sebian Brown and an offensive put back from Clay Malone. A pair of Dax Hurst three point bombs and a three point play by Cobb helped the Mustangs to a 42-33 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
EPC began to whittle away at the BIC lead midway through the fourth period, cutting the Mustang advantage to 48-44 at the 4:05 mark when Reed completed a three point play. DePriest hit four consecutive free throws over the next minute to push the BIC advantage to 52-46
EPC got back to back treys from Brown and Montrell James to trim the BIC lead to three on two different occasions. Each time, the Mustangs answered, first on a Hurst triple and then with a conventional three point play by Depriest to keep the BIC lead at six, 58-52, with 2:10 showing on the clock.
Forced to foul, the Warriors sent BIC to the line seven times over the final 1:46 of the game, where the Mustangs connected on 10-14 free throw attempts. EPC kept battling and sliced the BIC lead to two points twice in the final 35 seconds, but could get no closer, and when Brown missed a three pointer at the buzzer, the Mustangs secured a key 2A-3 conference win.
BIC went to the foul line 31 times and connected on 25 attempts for an 80 percent clip. The Mustangs drained six three pointers on the day and committed 20 turnovers. Cobb pumped in a game high 26 points to pace BIC, including an 11-13 performance from the charity stripe. DePriest poured in 19 points while Hurst hit four three point bombs to finish with 14 points. Andrew McFarlin scored five, Cory Turner tallied three while Canon Walling added one point.
Brown paced the Warriors with 23 points while Reed and James added 13 and 11 points respectively. EPC went to the foul line just six times, connecting on all six attempts. The Warriors made three treys and turned the ball over 16 times.
"We came up big at the free throw line tonight," said Mustang Coach Bill Taylor. "We've been working hard on them and it paid off. We made our free throws in the fourth quarter but we were having trouble stopping EPC from scoring. There were a lot of points scored in that last quarter. Dax Hurst hit a big three pointer for us down the stretch and Trey DePriest came up with a huge three point play as well. I thought the whole team played well. It was a big conference win for us against a very good team."
In junior high action, EPC defeated BIC 42-36. The Warriors led 19-11 after the opening period and 22-17 at the half. The Mustangs rallied to tie the game 30-30 after three periods of play. Jay Gilmore led EPC with 16 points while Tysen Garrett and T.J. Bush added 10 points apiece.
Blaine Wildy paced the Mustangs with a game high 20 points. Noah Teeter scored eight, Taylor Gipson tallied six while Kaleb Dublin added two points.
The Mustangs began the week, dropping a 55-48 decision Tuesday night to Cross County. The Thunderbirds held a 16-12 lead after the first quarter and took a 28-20 lead into intermission. The Mustangs rallied in the third period and grabbed a 39-38 edge heading into the final frame before being outscored 17-9 in the last quarter.
Josh Richardson pumped in 22 points to lead the Thunderbirds while Anfernee Davis and Austin Phelan added 14 and 13 points respectively.
Cobb led BIC with 17 points. DePriest and Hurst tallied nine points apiece, Walling netted five, Turner and Chayse Carmichael chipped in three points each while McFarlin added two points.
In junior high play, Cross County slipped past BIC 47-42. Jackson Henderson scored 19 points to lead the Thunderbirds while Hunter Like added 15.
Wildy poured in 18 points to lead the Mustangs while Gipson contributed 12. Teeter scored eight and Dublin added four.
BIC returns to action Tuesday night with a road trip to Marmaduke before completing the week Friday night against Marked Tree at home.