Lady Cougars Take BIC Down to the Wire
The Lady Cougars gave conference rival Buffalo Island Central all the game the visitors wanted during Senior Night Thursday in Rector. The Lady Cougars fell in a close, hard-fought contest, 59-52.
Rector started strong, leading by as many as 10 points, 29-19, in the first half. Kendal Gunn scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the opening half, as Rector jumped out in front 17-11 through the first frame and 32-27 at intermission. Gunn sank three triples in the first half and made six of seven free throws.
The third quarter was a different story for the hosts. BIC rattled off 13 unanswered to start the third period, taking a 40-32 lead. Rector's lone basket of the frame came on a three-pointer by Kristen Smart at the 3:00 mark. The visitors went into the fourth leading 42-35.
The Lady Cougars clawed back into the game down the stretch in the fourth. BIC's lead grew to as many as eight points, 53-45 with 2:15 remaining, but Rector refused to quit. Anna Blackshare traded a pair of free throws with BIC's Brittany Fowler with just under a minute left, keeping it an eight point difference, 55-47, with 54 seconds left in the contest. Rector cut the lead to three points, 55-52, on a dribble penetration and dish by Smart to Bekah Scott on the right block for a hoop and an inbound steal by Gunn at midcourt on the ensuing possession, which the talented junior turned into a three-point basket with 33 seconds remaining. Rector quickly fouled, but BIC made both free throws in the one-in-one situation. The Lady Cougars missed two three-point attempts down the stretch, with Fowler adding another two free throws for BIC in the final seconds.
Gunn's 25 points paced Rector on the night. Also scoring for the Lady Cougars were Blackshare 9, Smart 7, Scott 5, Johnna Lopez 3, Kaitlyn Essman 2 and Brittany Fair 1.
Fowler finished with 23 for the visitors. Emily Owens added 18 for BIC.
Rector fell to 16-14 overall and 6-10 in conference play.
Prior to the game, senior team members Ashley Arnold and Kaitlyn Essman were honored during Senior Night festivities. Members of the boys' basketball team, band and cheerleading programs also were honored during the festivities.
The Junior Lady Cougars fell to BIC, 33-24.
BIC led throughout: 11-5; 18-8 and 24-16.
Tori Hill and Matison Dean led the junior Lady Cougars with nine and eight points, respectively. Jamie Hatsfile, three points, and Colby Lynch, three points, rounded out the Rector scoring.
The junior girls fell to 10-14 overall with the loss.
The Junior Lady Cougars were set to face Riverside in the junior district tournament Tuesday night at Cross County.
The senior girls are set to visit Piggott beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday for PHS Senior Night. The evening will also feature both schools' boys' teams. The Lady Cougars are the sixth seed for the upcoming district tournament at Marmaduke. Rector is slated to face seventh seed Augusta at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12.