With the regular season winding down, it somehow seemed appropriate that the Williford Indians and Mammoth Spring Bears hooked up for a hardwood matchup Feb. 12 at Mammoth Spring.
After all, both schools are caught up in the wave of Arkansas' education reform, with a good possibility that the Williford school district will merge with Mammoth Spring in the near future as a part of the voluntary administrative consolidation package proposed by state legislators.
On this night, however, politics took a back seat to hoops as Mammoth Spring posted two big wins over Williford on senior night, with the Bears winning 93-41, and the Lady Bears holding court 58-29.
In senior boys' action, the Bears placed 12 players in the scoring column as Mammoth Spring rolled to a 52-point victory over Williford.
Much as he has done all season, Seth Risner set the table for the Bears by popping five treys on his way to 21 points on the evening.
With the Bears up 23-5 late in the first period, the Indians closed the frame strong by mining the area under the basket for eight unanswered points, six courtesy of Bryan Bettis (10 points), to pull within 10, 23-13, at the end of one.
Shawn Hooks (three points) opened the second period with a layup for Williford, but Risner stopped any threat of an Indian uprising by nailing back-to-back treys for the Bears.
After this, Adam Brown took over for Mammoth Spring, tossing in 15 of his 21 points in a six-minute span during the second to stake the Bears to a 59-27 advantage at the half.
The Bears' defense held Austin Davis, Williford's triple-double threat, to two points on a pair of free throws in the first half, and just three points for the game.
Jerry Despain (four points) started the third period for Williford with a trifecta, and Jody Shackleford (11 points) tossed in a couple of buckets in the paint, but the Bears' lead was just too big for the Indians to overcome, trailing 85-37 at the end of the third period.
Williford's only field goal in the fourth came from Kevin Upshaw (10 points) as the Bears cruised to a big win.
Matt Harrell and Derick Baldridge finished with 13 points each for the Bears, while Trent White added seven. Wes Whiteside and Cameron Kent posted four points each, and Brandon Myers, Tyler Mitchell and Nathan Mullins added two points apiece.
On the girls' side of things, the outcome was determined early as the Lady Bears jumped out to a 14-0 lead to start the game.
By the time Jodie Walsh (seven points) busted a triple at the 30-second mark of the first, the margin had grown to 19-1.
Raven Wells (five points) logged Williford's only field goal of the frame with 15 seconds left as the Lady Indians trailed 19-3 after one.
Lannette Romans (seven points) canned Mammoth Spring's second shot from behind the arc at the 5:02 mark of the second, extending the Lady Bears' advantage to 26-10, part of a 6-zip run.
Jade Murphy (three points) broke the run with a curl move inside the lane, but Mammoth Spring responded with another 6-0 sprintout to take a comfortable 35-12 lead to halftime.
The Lady Indians did manage to score as many points in the third period as they did the entire first half, but the Lady Bears also had no problems finding the hoop, taking a 51-24 lead into the final period of play, on their way to a 58-29 win in their regular season finale.
Madison Busch paced the Lady Bears with 10 points, while Ann Whiteside added nine. Maggie Harrell and Jonnie Bellows tallied eight each, with Heather Watson adding five.
Cassie Howard led Williford with 10, while Alma Sanchez tallied six. Jacqie Boyington and Bridgett Meeks finished with two apiece, and Laura Smoot added one.
The Bears (20-10) closed out regular season play with a 76-60 win over another tribe of Indians, this group from Couch, Feb. 13.
Risner tossed in 26 to pace Mammoth Spring, while Whiteside added a huge 21-point, 17-board double-double for the Bears. Brown finished with 11 points for Mammoth Spring.
It took an extra frame, and a jumper at the buzzer in overtime, but the Lady Bears (16-12) knocked off the Lady Indians 59-57 Feb. 13.
Heather Watson sank a 10-foot jump shot with time winding down to seal the win for Mammoth Spring.
Ann Whiteside tallied a massive double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Bears, while Jodie Walsh finished with 11 points.
April Redus led Couch with 20 points.