Bay coasts to NEA title
Bay used a 20-2 run to open the game and never looked back as they beat Marked Tree 86-70 to capture the boys' Division II NEA Invitational Tournament title this past Monday in Jonesboro.
Allen Buchanan scored the opening points rebounding his own miss to make it 2-0 Marked Tree at 7:15. Bay then reeled off 20 points. Matt Holt hit a three-pointer from the left wing, Tyson Oliver scored on a lay up, Loven got inside for a score, Zack Johnson nailed a three-pointer and Loven scored again off a steal and lay up while being fouled by Chris Montague at 4:48. Loven's free throw was good to make it 13-2. Oliver and Johnson hit back to back lay ups and Oliver buried a three-pointer from the right wing at 3:06. Buchanan stopped the run a baseline jumper with 2:30 to play to make it 20-4. Loven grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 22-4 Bay. Buchanan got inside for a score to make it 22-6 before Loven hit one of two free throws for Bay to make the score 23-6. Cameron Mitchell drilled a three-pointer for the Indians at the buzzer to make it 23-9.
The second period saw a flurry of scoring as the teams combined for 45 points. Ivy and Buchanan scored on back to back lay ups to start the second period and cut the lead to 23-13. Loven scored the next five for Bay as he hit two free throws and then made a basket inside and the free throw from being fouled to make the Bay lead 28-13. Ivy got inside for a basket for Marked Tree at 5:26 before Loven scored back to back baskets with a jumper and a lay up to make it 32-15 Bay. Johnson hit all three of his free throws after being fouled by Mitchell attempting a three-pointer to make it 35-15. Terry Carter hit one of two free throws for the Indians making the score 35-16. Johnson canned a three from the right corner making it a 38-16 lead for Bay. Marked Tree scored the next six points as Buchanan rebounded his own miss and scored, Ivy scored on a lay up and Buchanan glided in for lay up to make it 38-22. Loven got inside to score for Bay before Buchanan hit one of two free throws for the Indians to make it 40-23. Oliver and Buchanan traded baskets to make the score 42-25 with 1:43 left. Johnson drained another three for Bay to make the score 45-25. Buchanan scored a basket at 1:09, Holt hit one of two free throws at 1:00, Carter scored off an offensive rebound and Buchanan got his own rebound and scored to make it 46-31 Bay at the half.
Buchanan made a lay up to start the third period for Marked Tree and make the score 46-33. Bay reeled off six as Holt scored on a lay up, Pritchett got a basket off a goal tending call and Oliver scored inside to push the Bay lead to 52-33. Marked Tree scored the next seven to cut into the Bay lead. Ivy got inside for two, Rucker hit two free throws, Buchanan made one of two free shots and Ivy got inside again to make it 52-40. Marked Tree answered that with a 10-0 run to make it 62-40. Holt hit one of two free throws, Oliver hit a jumper then nailed a three-pointer from the left wing and Johnson scored back to back baskets. Buchanan stopped the run with an inside basket at 1:16 before Dee Crockett hit a short jumper for the Indians to make it 62-44. Oliver scored on a floater and Buchanan had an alley-oop slam off a Carter pass to make the score 64-46 after three.
Ivy hit one of two free throws for Marked Tree at 7:23 of the fourth period to make it 64-47. Skaggs hit a jumper before Montague and Carter scored back to back to make the score 66-51. Loven and Carter traded baskets making it 68-53 followed by Oliver and Buchanan trading baskets to make it 70-55 with 5:15 to go. Loven drilled a three from the left corner and Johnson made an old fashioned three as the was fouled on his lay up and made the free throw to push the Bay lead to 76-55. Buchanan made of one of two free throws after being fouled. Loven scored inside, Ivy answered inside and Loven hit a floater in the lane making the score 80-58 with 3:12 left. Buchanan hit two free throws and Rucker got a steal and lay up to make the score 80-62. Oliver hit two free throws and then a floater in the lane to put the Bay lead at 84-62. Rucker hit a three-pointer then had another steal and lay up to cut the lead to 84-67. Tyre Wofford canned a three for Marked Tree with 33 seconds left and Cade Prince got inside with 14 seconds left for Bay to set the final at 86-70.
"We were well prepared for the game, the extra day (Sunday) really helped," Bay coach Brad Brannen said after the game. "Transition was the key tonight, we ran ours well and stopped theirs," Brannen added. Asked about the three player with 20+ points, Loven, Oliver and Johnson Brannen said, "Those guys can all score." "Matt Holt probably had his best game of the season tonight. We ask him to guard their post player, their best player, he shares the ball and then sneaks in and hits a three."
Loven Bay with 28 points followed by Oliver with 24 points and Johnson with 21 points.
Buchanan led all scorers with 31 points for Marked Tree while Ivy added 13 points.