Turns out number five was not meant to be number 19.
Entering their matchup in the finals of the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament Feb. 25 at the Cougars' Den in Brockwell, the Melbourne Lady Bearkatz and Calico Rock Lady Pirates had met on four previous occasions this season. Melbourne, after losing the first one of those games, had won three straight over Calico Rock, the last a scant week ago in the district tournament finals, a contest the Lady Katz won by 13 points.
The Lady Bearkatz also, had been hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July lately, reeling off 18 straight wins.
But all streaks must end, and on this night, both ended for Melbourne.
Fueled by another outstanding performance from Regional MVP Kim Sutterfield, the Lady Pirates had their sweet revenge, knocking off the Lady Bearkatz 72-62.
Both teams advanced to the Class 1A State Tournament in Harrison. Calico Rock made it all the way to the Final Four in last year's state tournament in Clinton.
Sutterfield, once she got cranking in the second half, was virtually unstoppable and poured in a game-high 38 points, 30 in the second half, to capture the Regional MVP award for the second consecutive year.
Just like it had in its three previous wins over Calico Rock, Melbourne (25-8) got off to a quick start in the regional finals.
Olivia Morris (12 points) and Codi Womack (11 points) each nailed a triple in the first five minutes of the game, helping Melbourne out to a 10-6 lead. Morris, along with teammates Autumn Henry (two points) and Maggie Cooper were named to the All-Tournament team. Cooper tossed in a team-high 21 points for the Lady Katz.
Calico Rock (30-6) had problems sticking the ball in the hoop in the first period and Melbourne used this to its advantage.
The Lady Katz got a stickback from Kaylee Ables and an old-fashioned 3-point play from Morris near the end of the first period to take an 18-9 lead into the start of the second.
That's when Womack stepped forward.
She got free for three buckets in the early-going to keep Melbourne in front 24-13.
Calico Rock responded with a trey from Jennifer Tunnicliff (five points) and jumper by Kori Lamb (12 points), keeping Melbourne from completely running away and hiding.
Maggie Cooper did keep the Lady Bearkatz in front by scoring six points down the stretch in the second, sending the teams to intermission with Melbourne holding a 35-27 lead.
Then in the second half, Sutterfield turned in what has to be the very definition of an "MVP performance."
She knocked down five 3-balls, scoring 30 points in the last two periods, grabbed several big rebounds, racked up a couple of steals and handled the ball at the top of the key while directing her team's run-and-gun offense.
And Calico Rock needed every bit of Sutterfield's big second-half showing as it played catchup.
While Sutterfield got clicking for the Lady Pirates in the third, so too did Abby Cooper for Melbourne. She tossed in six of her 14 points in the third, as the Lady Katz managed to survive a 10-point showing from Sutterfield to remain on top 45-44 after three.
Then with the opening hoop of the fourth, it was all Calico Rock.
All-Regional performer Brittany Fountain (11 points) hit the first hoop of the final period to give the Lady Pirates their first lead since it was 4-2 Calico Rock at the game's outset.
Then Sutterfield racked up the next nine points for the Lady Pirates, including her fourth, fifth and sixth treys of the game, pushing Calico Rock in front 55-50.
And that five-point cushion was enough for Calico Rock to fend off the Lady Bearkatz 72-62, snapping Melbourne's impressive 18-game winning streak in the process.
Hannah Wright and Emily Jenkins scored two points apiece for the Lady Pirates. Wright was named to the All-Tournament team.
Calico Rock earned a fifth clash on the season with Melbourne by sliding past Izard County 54-51 in the semis Feb. 23.
Jessica Sanders tallied 12 points for the Lady Pirates, while Sutterfield had 10. Wright, Fountain and Tunnicliff had six points each, while Taylor Cox, Kori Lamb and Emily Jenkins had four points each. Miranda Jones had two.
Traci Grinnell led Izard County with a game-high 18 points, while Keressa Campbell added 11, Leathyr Spangler nine, Rachel Harmon six and Haley Crotts three. Kaci Crotts and Lane Norvold had two points each for the Lady Cougars.
Melbourne topped the Mount Pleasant Lady Bluebirds 50-23 in the semi-final round Feb. 23.
Maggie Cooper led the way with 16 for the Lady Katz, while Morris had 12, Abby Cooper 10 and Womack five. Ables had three and Henry two. Amanda Treat and Kenzi Gillihan logged one point each.
Erica Biard paced Mount Pleasant with 10, with Melissa Martin adding six, Sara Adams four and Kallie Johnson three.
The Lady Katz had to climb out of an early hole, but they still managed to knock off Twin Rivers 58-36 in opening-round play Feb. 20.
The Lady Panthers held a 15-4 advantage after one period of play, but Melbourne fired back to outscore Twin Rivers 20-9 in the second to lock the game at 24-all at intermission.
Morris led the charge with 19 points, while Maggie Cooper had 10. Autumn Henry, Abby Cooper, Kaylee Ables and Kenzi Gillihan finished with four points each. Abbi Miller, Amanda Treat and Codi Womack logged three points each. Tara Jo Harmon and Kelsey Dale finished with two points each. Melbourne.