Lady Warriors and influenze doom BIC's NEA Tourney run
Hot shooting East Poinsett County, coupled with the flu bug, proved too much for the Buffalo Island Central Lady Mustangs in the first round of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Tuesday afternoon at the First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
The Lady Warriors blistered the nets, downing eight three pointers in the first half in building a 41-24 halftime advantage. The game would end before the second half could get underway when BIC was forced to forfeit due to several players being unable to answer the bell because of illness.
EPC ran to a 13-5 lead in the opening period, thanks to three consecutive treys, two by Madison Wiggins and the third coming from Markiya Ward. BIC fought back, getting a 10-footer from Vicky Esparza, followed by Heather Sipes’ triple, slicing the EPC lead to 15-10 with 2:30 remaining in the quarter. Wiggins answered by throwing in her third bomb of the period as the Lady Warriors finished the stanza with an 8-2 run to grab a 21-12 lead after the first break.
Sipes sank three free throws to begin the second quarter, cutting EPC’s lead to six, but a Wiggins basket and a Taylor Hannah three pushed the Warrior lead to 26-18 at the 5:25 mark. Bre Ward increased EPC’s lead to 10 with a driving lay-in, before Kayla Reel drilled a long trey, increasing the Lady Warrior lead to 31-20. EPC continued to pile on the points, getting a 10-foot bank shot from Bre Ward, followed by a Wiggins bucket to go ahead 35-21 with 2:17 left in the half. EPC finished the first half with consecutive three pointers from Markiya Ward, giving the Lady Warriors a commanding 17-point halftime lead.
As EPC warmed up to begin the second half, the announcement came that BIC would forfeit, leaving the Lady Warriors with a 41-24 victory.
Wiggins finished the day with a game high 17 points to lead EPC while Markiya Ward contributed 11.
Sipes topped BIC with 13 points. Molly Hart scored four, Haddyn Hurst had three while Esparza and Jealynn Cates contributed two points each.
The Lady Mustangs will return to action Jan. 2, when they play host to Cross County at the Mustang Athletic Complex.