Rector Junior Boys Fall to Talented Mustang Squad
Host Rector stayed relatively close to Buffalo Island Central in the early-going of the first round of the District 2A-3 Tournament on Monday night, but the powerful Junior Mustangs put it together in a hurry on their way to an easy 44-16 victory.
The Junior Cougars trailed only 10-5 early in the second quarter, but BIC rolled off 17 straight points to take a 27-5 advantage at intermission.
Second-seeded BIC has lost only two games all year and now advances to a semifinal game against third-ranked Earle at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday. Earle moved on Monday night with a 61-49 win over Riverside.
Other tournament games Monday saw top-seeded Marked Tree blast eighth-seeded CRA, 49-30, and fifth-ranked EPC move past fourth-seeded Marmaduke, 57-55, in overtime. Marked Tree and EPC meet in a semifinal game at 5:15 Wednesday.
The championship game is set for 4:15 Saturday on the Rector court.
Trey Rodden was the leading scorer for Rector with six points. Also scoring were Kale Hardin 4, Hunter McNeely 2, Kirk Beshears 2 and Drake Lindsey 2.
Pacing BIC were Chayse Carmichael with 11 and Andrew McFarlin 10.
"BIC has to be one of the best junior high teams in the state," Rector coach Matt Mills said after the game. "They have it all.
"They are playing 10 ninth graders and junior high basketball is a ninth grader's game. There is a lot of difference between the eighth and ninth grade years. We certainly could have used two or three more good ninth graders this year."
Mills said ninth graders Sam Simmons, Beshears and McNeely all had a good season and should be able to contribute next year on the senior high team.
The coach said his team played well down the stretch, but was unfortunate to close out the season with tough games against BIC (twice) and Marmaduke.
"We beat Cross County and CRA and played EPC within four," he noted. "We played some good basketball, played well together and the ninth graders stepped up and did what they were supposed to do."
Mills noted that his team will have eight ninth graders next year and some of the seventh graders moving up will see significant playing time.
"Our eighth graders need to develop their skills -- shooting, dribbling, passing. They are not going to be the most athletic group, so they need to be highly skilled. We'll get started working hard on that in about a week."