In the end, they came up just a little bit short.
After having an easy time against the Biggers-Reyno Lady Buffaloes in opening-round action by leading the entire way, the Salem Lady Greyhounds had the tables turned on them Dec. 27, as they squared off with the Bay Lady Yellowjackets in the second round of the NEA Tournament at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
The Lady Yellowjackets held a commanding lead for most of the contest, leading 41-26 at the end of the third period.
Proving they weren't going down without a fight, the Lady Greyhounds (7-5) scrapped their way within striking distance early in the fourth period.
Opening the frame on an 11-1 run, the Lady Hounds cut into Bay's lead, trailing 43-35.
Despite shooting only 50 percent from the charity stripe (six-for-12) late in the period, Bay kept in front enough to post a 49-38 win, knocking Salem out of the A-AA brackets.
Heather Bales led the way for the Lady Hounds with 23 big points.
In action from the opening round, the Lady Hounds barely had to break a sweat as they crushed the Biggers-Reyno Lady Buffaloes 63-26 Dec. 26.
Poor shooting by Biggers-Reyno, along with good defensive pressure from Salem proved to be the difference in the game as the Lady Buffaloes suffered a couple of costly scoring droughts.
The Lady Buffaloes (8-7) went without a field goal until the 1:27 mark of the first period, and were held scoreless in the third for seven minutes and 10 seconds as the Lady Hounds rolled.
Salem put the game away early by jumping out to a 14-6 lead after the first period, and continued to stay on top for the duration of the contest.
Heather Bales (16 points) took advantage of the Lady Buffaloes' lack of interior defense in the second period by posting eight points on a variety of moves in the paint.
Not only were they having success in the lane, the Lady Greyhounds found the outside score equally to their liking.
Up comfortably 32-18 at halftime, Salem didn't let up any in the third.
Samantha Smith (seven points), Ashley Smith (nine points) and Brittney Bales (nine points) all drained treys in the third period as Salem outscored Biggers-Reyno 21-4 in the frame on their way to a huge 63-26 shellacking of the Lady Buffaloes.
Hanna Bray added four points for Salem, while Stephanie Barker, Cassi Hickinbothom, Tori Watkins and Samantha Corsaut all chipped in three points each.
Carrie Johnson, Bailey Wagner and Tabitha Hall all added two apiece.
The Greyhounds found the sledding much tougher than their girl counterparts on Dec. 26.
After narrowly escaping the Swifton Pirates in their first NEA Tournament action earlier in the week, the Greyhounds drew the number one seed in the A-AA brackets, and the second ranked team in Class AA, the Buffalo Island Central Mustangs.
It seemed like the sky inside the Convocation Center was raining treys as BIC (19-1) dropped in 14 3-pointers on their way to a 73-42 dispatching of Salem.
The Hounds (2-8) started off on a slippery slope in the first half of play with poor shooting from the floor (four-for-20), 17 turnovers and a lengthy scoreless spell that sealed their fate.
Despite not getting many good looks at the basket in the first period, the Hounds did get a pair of treys from Tyler Humphries (six points) and Chad Willett (four points) to keep the Mustangs from getting too far in front.
Down 13-8 to start the second period, the Greyhounds got another 3-bomb from Humphries at the 5:11 mark of the second to edge closer, down 17-13.
That was the last bit of positive news Salem got in the frame as BIC closed the period on a 14-0 run to turn a competitive contest into a blowout with the Mustangs commanding a 34-14 halftime lead.
Facing a 20-point deficit at intermission, the Greyhounds just couldn't stick together any kind of positive run in the second half of play, as the Mustangs showed just why they earned top billing in the A-AA brackets with a 73-42 romp over Salem.
Phillip Taylor paced the Hounds with nine points, while Justin Howell added six.
Kyle Estes, Robbie Hurtt, Leon Harvey, James Wagner, James Lowrie and Brandon Newman added two each, and Joe Fowler one for Salem.