The Alton Comets had plenty of things on their side in their bid to knock off the Thayer Bobcats Dec. 20.
The Comets were playing in front of a hungry home crowd.
They had prepared a solid game plan and then proceeded to execute that plan.
Alton even got some big outside shots from Tyler Thompson to drop in early, while big man Lane Brewer controlled the paint, blocking a pair of Bobcat layup attempts right off the bat.
But the Comets didn't have Blake Horton or a huge fourth-period run on their side.
Those two factors were on Thayer's side and helped the Bobcats turn what had been a tight game into a 63-37 runaway victory for Thayer.
Horton was on fire for the Cats, and he scorched the nets for six triples on his way to a game-high 31-point output on the night.
And while Thayer held a close 35-33 lead after three periods of play, the fourth was all Bobcats, as the visitors from Thayer outscored Alton 28-4 over the last eight minutes of play to break the game wide open.
The Comets' scoring in the fourth consisted of a free throws from Tyler Thompson (11 points) and Caleb Hollis (six points) and hoops by Lane Brewer (six points).
By contrast, Thayer got three treys from Horton in the frame, while Matt Kojdecki came off the bench to toss in eight of his 10 points for the game in the fourth.
The final outcome was sure different from the back-and-forth battle the two squads engaged in for the first three periods of play.
The contest was tied twice and had 11 lead changes in the first three periods.
The Comets got off on good footing in the first period as Tyler Thompson drilled back-to-back treys to give Alton a quick 6-0 lead.
Thayer fought back and a jumper from Jacob Eckman (five points) tied the game at 10-all with 1:37 left in the first.
Stetson Neldon (10 points) and Simon Gatewood (four points) hit back-to-back buckets from Alton late in the frame, but Horton popped his third 3-ball of the first, and Michael Lowther (six points) kicked in with a jumper to give Thayer the last five points of the first, along with an 18-14 advantage after one.
The up-and-down pace of the first period slowed in the second, and it was the Comets who scored the last hoops of the frame, layups from Neldon and Gatewood, giving Alton a 25-24 lead at the half.
The third period was another close race, with Alton taking the biggest lead of the period, 33-30, on a layup from Tyler Thompson late in the frame.
But the Bobcats managed to pull in front for good, closing the third on a 5-0 run to take a 35-33 lead into the final period.
Then almost in the blink of an eye, all of the Comets' hard work vanished as Thayer closed the door by outscoring Alton by 24 points over the last eight minutes of play to emerge with a 63-37 victory.
Lance Schneider tallied seven points for Thayer, while Garrett Smith recorded four.