New Thayer Bobcat Head Coach Matt Pitts just might be a master of understatement.
After saying that his Bobcats would probably be a little faster and a little deeper than they had in the recent past, Thayer went out and demonstrated that was it indeed faster, with a capitol F, and deeper with a capitol D, in its first two games of the new season.
First the Cats rolled past Winona 73-49 in its first outing Dec. 5 and then followed that up by topping the homestanding Mammoth Spring Bears 64-34 Dec. 7.
Earlier in the night, the Lady Bobcats made sure it was a sweep for Thayer, as they held back the Lady Bears 62-51.
On the boys' side of things, the Bobcats ran, ran, ran from the opening tip-off on. One got the feeling they probably even ran, ran, ran from their post-game showers straight back to the Thayer High School campus after the game, forgoing the usual bus ride.
And while the Bobcats' up-and-down game was on full display against the Bears, so too was Thayer's deep bench. Six different Cats scored in the first period, nine in the first half, as Thayer jumped in front early and held command for the evening.
The night started on solid footing for the Bears, with Adam Watson (three points) popping a jumper to get Mammoth Spring on the board first.
However, quick as lightning, Mammoth Spring found itself in a 19-7 hole as the Cats got rolling.
Eric Veatch (11 points) led the early outburst for Thayer by tossing in nine of the Bobcats' first 19 in the first.
Thayer closed the first frame with back-to-back buckets from Matt Kojdecki (four points) and Garrett Smith (eight points), staking the Cats to a commanding 23-9 advantage after one.
The Bobcats' scrambling, full-court defense kept Mammoth Spring without a field goal, and just five free throws, in the second until Trevor Vincent (four points) sank a layup with 2:49 remaining until intermission. Seth Godwin (seven points) hit the Bears' only other field goal of the frame, a layup just before the half that saw Mammoth Spring trailing 38-18 at halftime.
It was more of the same in the second half.
Blake Horton (eight points) nailed a jump shot to open the third for Thayer, as the Cats continued their full-throttle assault.
Lance Schneider dropped in four of his 11 points for the game in the third, helping Thayer to a 47-28 lead after three.
Jacob Sims finished the contest on a strong note with nine points in the final frame, as Thayer posted a 64-34 victory over their neighbors from Arkansas. Sims fired in a game-high 14 points to lead the Cats.
Ryan Veatch had four points for Thayer, while Michael Lowther and Luke Martin added two points apiece for the Bobcats.
Gage Busch and Aaron Shipp logged five points each for Mammoth Spring, with Ethan Gaines and Wes Davis finishing with four points apiece. Jonathan Marler tallied two points for the Bears.
In girls' action, the Lady Bears got off to a quick start in the first half, only to hit a slow patch that allowed Thayer to pull in front for good.
Melanie Maguffee converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to start the game for Mammoth Spring, part of a strong first half of play for Maguffee. She scored all of her 11 points for the game in the first two periods of play.
With the Lady Bears on top 3-0 thanks to Maguffee's 3-point play, Thayer answered by ripping off the next 12 points to gain control.
Micah Stevens popped a trey to jump start the Lady Cats, while Chelsey Cabrales followed with a steal and layup. Stevens paced Thayer with 23 points despite not playing at 100 percent due to a severe groin pull, while Cabrales followed with 19.
Maguffee stopped this Thayer run with her second traditional 3-point play of the frame, but the Lady Bobcats closed strong, holding a 16-9 lead after one.
As the Lady Bobcats kept playing keepaway with the lead in the second period, Mammoth Spring's Ashley Walsh rolled up her sleeves and went to work.
She tossed in nine of her game-high 24 points in the second to keep Thayer from running away with things.
A 3-ball from Walsh at the 3:18 point of the second pulled Mammoth Spring within three, down 25-22.
The Lady Bobcat lead was six when Kylee Busch (eight points) hit a layup late in the frame to send the two squads to the break with Thayer holding serve 30-26.
The third period was where Thayer finally was able to pull ahead by double digits, thanks to some nifty play from Cabrales.
She blasted the Lady Bears with 12 points in the stanza, leading a pair of Thayer charges that opened some breathing room for the Lady Bobcats.
Thayer started this run with six straight points to start the third and finished the run with six straight points to end the third on top 50-36.
Nine points was as close to the lead as Mammoth Spring could get in the fourth period, with Thayer taking a 62-51 victory over the Lady Bears.
April Risner logged 10 points for Thayer, while Samantha Oakes added seven, and Kaley Herbert one.
Kayly Vest finished with eight points for Mammoth Spring.
The Bears dropped a tough 86-82 game to the Timbo Tigers Dec. 8 despite a 25-point effort from Shipp.
Busch added 15 points for Mammoth Spring, while Godwin racked up nine points and handed out 11 assists. Watson tossed in 10 points.