Senior leaders are supposed to step up and take command when the situation calls for it.
They're supposed to get going when the going gets tough.
And that's just what Izard County's Leathyr Spangler did in the Lady Cougars' 57-47 win over Sloan-Hendrix in the first round of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament's A-AA girls' bracket Dec. 21 at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
Much closer than the final score might indicate, Spangler certainly played like a senior three-year starter is supposed to, saving her best for last, right when her team needed it most.
Trailing Sloan-Hendrix 33-32 after three periods of play, the Lady Cougars got the boost that pushed them over the top thanks to an outstanding fourth period from Spangler.
She tossed in 16 of her game-high 27 points in the last frame, including going a sparkling 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the fourth, to help Izard County go from a three-point deficit to a 10-point win in the last eight minutes of the night.
The Lady Greyhounds canned the first hoop of the fourth to extend their advantage to 35-32 before Keressa Campbell (11 points) hit a baseline jumper, and Spangler slashed to the rack for a layup that gave Izard County a 36-35 lead.
Izard County had built a four-point lead, 44-40, on four charity tosses from Spangler, when Lady Greyhound Amanda Green nailed a big 3-pointer that pulled Sloan-Hendrix within one, 44-43, with 3:39 left to play.
Spangler just went on a personal 6-0 run over the next minute-and-a-half to boost Izard County's lead to 50-43.
Campbell kicked in with a layup, and Rachel Harmon (13 points) added a free throw, and just like that, the Lady Cougs had forged a 10-point lead.
Green hit another trey for Sloan-Hendrix, but fittingly, Spangler closed the book on the Lady Greyhounds with a pair of free throws that sealed Izard County's 57-47 victory.
While the Lady Cougars closed strong, it was Sloan-Hendrix that had opened the proceedings with force.
The Lady Greyhounds jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the first before Harmon racked up Izard County's first hoop of the night.
Harmon's bucket helped the Lady Cougars to a nice 7-0 run, including a hoop from Lane Norvold and three straight points from Campbell, giving Izard County an 8-6 lead.
The Lady Cougars maintained this advantage and took a 10-9 lead into the start of the second period.
Spangler and Harmon busted a 3-ball apiece in the second period, helping the Lady Cougars to a 23-17 lead at the half.
Sloan-Hendrix used a late push in the third, on a 6-0 spurt, to move in front 33-32.
But Spangler and her teammates were not to be denied in the fourth, and Izard County knocked off Sloan-Hendrix 57-47.
Haley Crotts and Emily Crider tallied two points each for the Lady Cougars.
Izard County's run through the NEA Tournament ended with a 47-23 setback to the Cedar Ridge Lady Timberwolves Dec. 26.