Mammoth Springs' varsity basketball teams felt right at home in the championship games of the 2AA-North District Tournament.
It was only natural that they did since the tournament was played on their home court in Mammoth Spring.
This coziness, however, did not translate into final results as the Lady Bears fell to Salem in a thrilling 47-45 game, and the Bears were defeated by Melbourne 65-55 in the boys' final on Feb. 16.
In the girls' championship game, the Salem Lady Greyhounds rode the inspired play of senior Erica Hall to the tournament crown.
The Lady Bears sprang out of the blocks to a quick 7-2 lead.The Lady Greyhounds hung tough as Hall busted the first of her five 3-pointers at the 3:02 mark to give the lead to Salem at 8-7.
The Lady Greyhound advantage grew to 16-9 as senior Andrea Bales converted a layup at the 18-second mark.
A long 3-pointer that banged in off the glass at the buzzer from junior Dana Carroll pulled the Lady Bears to within 4, at 16-12.
Hall struck again for Salem with another long trey just inside the second period start.
Lady Bear Chelsea Tyson, a senior, got in the scorebook with her first points on a stickback at the 4:39 mark, and Salem up 23-16.
Mammoth Spring continued to chip away at the Salem cushion as they closed out the first half with 3 consecutive scores, and a 30-24 deficit at halftime.
The Lady Bears carried this momentum into the third period as junior Morgan Haney started things off with a long 3-ball, and salem leading 30-27.
As was the case all game, when the waves began to get choppy, Erica Hall righted the Lady Greyhound ship.
Hall slipped inside the paint for a deuce, and then a minute later, let fly with another big trey to extend the Salem margin to 35-27.
At this point the Lady Bears started to show their resolve behind the play of Tyson and Haney.
Tyson knocked in a mid-range jumper in the lane.Haney canned her second trey of the period.At the 2:10 point of the frame, Tyson added to her point total with another layup.
The third period buzzer sounded as Haney turned a defensive steal into a layup, and thanks to a 9-3 run, the Lady Bears trailed by only 2, 38-36.
The first 3 minutes of the last period belonged to Chelsea Tyson as she poured in 5 quick points to wrest the advantage back in favor of Mammoth Spring at 41-40.
Once again Erica Hall stood tall for Salem.Hall dropped in a pair of jumpers to reclaim the lead at 44-42.
With both teams in the bonus, free throws loomed important as the clock ticked away.
With the score 46-45 in favor of Salem, the Lady Greyhounds lost the chance to pad their lead more by missing the front end of a pair of one-and-one opportunities.
Andrea Bales did drop in one point from the charity stripe with 22 seconds left to give Salem a 2-point lead at 47-45.The Lady Bears pushed the ball down court to set up a final scoring play.
The Lady Greyhounds knocked the ball loose and the ensuing scramble left the ball out of bounds in possession of Mammoth Spring with 6 seconds left.
The Lady Bears inbounded the ball to Morgan Haney who fired up a 15-footer that banged off the rim.
The ball fell into the hands of Chelsea Tyson who was bumped by Erica Hall as the final buzzer went off.
Since the Lady Bears were in the bonus, that foul meant one thing, a chance to tie the game by Tyson sinking 2 free throws with no time on the clock.
Standing all alone at the charity stripe with both teams looking on from the side of the court, Tyson missed her first free throw, sealing the 47-45 title victory for Salem.
Erica Hall led the Lady Greyhounds with 25.Chelsea Tyson paced Mammoth Spring with 17.
In boys' action, a win by Melbourne would add the 2AA-North Tournament title to their regular season crown.
Meeting for the fourth time this year, the Bears were hoping to avenge their previous three losses to the Bearkatz by going right after them.
This worked for the first three periods as Mammoth Spring led the entire way before running out of gas in the last period of the 65-55 Bearkat victory.
The first period was a close affair as Melbourne led 10-7 at the 3:42 mark.
It was at this point that the Bears brought out their long-range bomb brigade.
Senior Derek Todd popped in a pair of 3-pointers from beyond the arc.
Fellow senior Matt Newman added one of his own.To mix things up a bit, sophomore Wesley Whiteside contributed with a couple of inside hoops to give the Bears a 20-12 advantage at the end of one.
The Bears remained out in front by 7, 30-23, at the 2:57 mark of the second period when the Bearkatz turned up the heat on defense.
Back-to-back steals by the Davidson brothers, sophomore Jordan, and senior Patrick, closed out the frame with Melbourne gathering a head of steam, down 32-29.The Bears opened play in the third by looking for scoring chances out of their half-court sets.
This worked well as Derek Todd curled around a screen for his third trey of the game, and a 37-33 Bear lead.Mammoth Spring continued to keep the advantage the remainder of the period, and led 51-47 at the end of three.
Unfortunatly for the Bears, the game consists of four periods, and the fourth period was their undoing.
Jordan Davidson flashed his quick hands again as he swiped the ball from the Bears on back-to-back possessions to knot the game at 51-all.
This defensive theme continued for Melbourne as they kept the Bears from scoring until the 3:02 mark of the period, with the score in the Bearkatz' favor at 56-53, a lead they would ride out.
Melbourne outscored Mammoth Spring 18-4 in the fourth period for the 65-55 championship victory.Paving the way for Melbourne was Jordan Davidson (15 points), Patrick Davidson (14 points), and Andrew McFarland (11 points).Derek Todd led Mammoth Spring with a game high 19.