It seems like rare is the case anymore when a big game or showdown between two talented teams lives up to its billing.
However, with the South Central Association title on the line Feb. 18, the clash between the conference's two unbeaten squads, the Thayer Bobcats and Salem, more than held its own as a contest worthy of grabbing headlines.
As a matter of fact, the game was so heated it took an extra period before the Bobcats, playing in front of a packed house at home, won their third SCA title in the last four years with a 58-56 win over Salem in overtime.
Holding a 12-point lead at one point, Thayer watched as Salem clipped into its margin, rallying to tie the game at 50-all at the end of regulation.
The Bobcats did have a chance to end the game with a shot at the fourth-period buzzer, but it missed the mark, and it took an extra period for Thayer to hand Salem its first loss in SCA play this season.
Josh Wemlinger led the way for Thayer with 20 points, while Brett Ward tallied 12. Andrew Eckman and Aaron Henry tossed in 11 points apiece, with Layne Hawkins and John Tollenaar finishing with two points each.
The Cats (22-2), ranked fourth in the latest Class 2 standings, started their week with a big SCA road win at Mountain Grove Feb. 15, setting up the showdown with Salem.
Henry paved the way for Thayer's 64-57 win over the Panthers by tossing in 22 points on the evening.
Wemlinger followed with 14, and Ward added 12. Hawkins posted 10, Eckman four, and Tollenaar two.
The Lady Bobcats also got a big win at Mountain Grove, as they pounded the Lady Panthers 60-35 Feb. 14.
Thayer jumped in front 19-7 after the first period and cruised on their way to victory.
Heather Coffel led the going for Thayer with 17 points, while LaShanda Horton followed with 14, and Valerie Dixon eight. Brittany Allen and Autumn Forschler logged six points each, and Krysta Adams had five. Tasha Wrenfrow and Sarah Dills finished the night with two points apiece.
The week ended for the Lady Bobcats with a 48-41 loss to Salem Feb. 17 in SCA play.
With Thayer trailing by one, 32-31, heading into the fourth period, Salem outpaced the Lady Cats 16-10 in the final frame for the win.
Horton tallied 19 points for Thayer, while Coffel logged 10. Allen and Wrenfrow added two points apiece, while Dixon and Tiffany Poulette posted two points each.