Talk about not having time to catch your breath.
After handing previously unbeaten Rural Special their first 2A-North loss of the season Jan. 16, just four days later the Viola Longhorns braced for another attack on their homecourt, this time from the Norfork Panthers.
With identical conference marks of 4-2 heading into their Jan. 20 matchup at the Longhorn Corral, these two old rivals knew that a win was necessary to keep pace with Rural Special for a shot at the league title.
This night belonged to Norfork as they handed the Longhorns a 51-47 loss, and in the process did something they've not be able to do for quite some time -- they swept the season series from Viola.
The difference in this contest proved to be Norfork's (20-6, 5-2) 3-point shooting ability, with the Panthers' Casey Acklin stroking four treys in the first period to give Norfork a 20-11 lead after one.
Viola's (16-11, 4-3) big 6-9 post player, Dustin Jones, answered back with 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half, keeping the Longhorns within striking distance, down 36-30, at halftime.
But in the second half, the Panthers would go up by as many as nine points before holding on for the four-point win.
Cody Hutson tallied eight points for Viola, while Brett Cotter added six, and Cory Batterton five. Ryan Walker and Dustin Shrable logged four points each. Kevin Painter finished with two for the Longhorns.
In girls' action, the Lady Longhorns upped their mark to 16-7 and 5-2 in conference play with a 65-49 blasting of the Lady Panthers behind Lindsey Barker's game-high 16 points.
Barker, Kyla Batterton (13 points) and Melinda Guffey (15 points) scored 29 of Viola's 31 first half points to stake the Lady Horns to a 31-20 advantage at the half.
Norfork made a move in the third, but Viola remained on top by outscoring the Lady Panthers 19-12 in the final frame.
Teegan Baumunk posted six points for Viola, while Cayla Cotter added five, and Jamie Dailey four. Chelsea Taylor, Breann Wray and Mandi Fore finished with two points apiece for the Lady Longhorns.
The Longhorns returned to action Jan. 23 by hosting the Mammoth Spring Bears in non-conference play.
With the game locked at 44-all at the end of the third period, Viola went on to outscore the Bears 14-9 in the final frame to post a 58-53 win.
Jones had a huge game for Viola by posting 27 points, while Cotter logged 14.