On most nights, shooting 47 percent from the free throw line will get you beat.
But this was not most nights.
This was Winter Wonderland night, and while the Koshkonong Bluejays were just 11-of-23 from the charity stripe, they were playing in front of an energized homecoming crowd and came up with a flurry of 3-pointers at just the right time, helping them knock off the Mammoth Spring Bears 51-48 Jan. 11.
Later in the evening, the Lady Jays made sure the homecoming dance held immediately afterwards was a festive one, as Johna Wade pumped in a game-high 25 points as Koshkonong pushed past the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears 56-50, making it a sweep for the hosts.
In the boys' game, Mammoth Spring was in good shape at intermission, riding a hard-charging first-half effort from Seth Godwin to a 23-18 advantage at the break. Godwin tossed in 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first two periods of play.
But it was the Jays who came out of the locker room dialed in and ready to rumble to start the third period.
Shane Davis (16 points) ripped the nets for a trey to get the third started, and then followed that by swiping the ball and feeding it to a wide-open Tyler Roark (13 points), who also drilled a trey to give Koshkonong its first lead since early in the game.
Godwin stopped the Bluejays' run with a layup, but Ryan Ball (nine points) responded by drilling Koshkonong's third trey in the opening minutes of the third.
Davis nailed another 3-ball midway into the frame to give Koshkonong a 32-27 lead, but the Bears fought back with an inside bucket from Trevor Vincent (eight points) and triple by Aaron Shipp (six points).
Gage Busch (seven points) then gave the lead back to the Bears with a stickback of a missed shot, but a free throw from Koshkonong's Ball locked the game at 34-all after three.
Mammoth Spring was dealt a big blow just two minutes into the fourth when big man Wes Davis (seven points) fouled out.
Despite the absence of Wes Davis in the paint for the Bears, the Bluejays still focused on bombing away from long range. And once again, they were right on the mark.
Shane Davis and Wayne Cahoj blasted back-to-back treys for Koshkonong, moving the Bluejays in front 46-40 with 4:15 left to play.
Mammoth Spring pulled within two, down 46-44, on hoops from Busch and Vincent before Ball came up with one of the biggest buckets of the night, a 3-pointer with 1:25 left on the clock.
Then the Jays' struggles at the free line almost caught up with them.
Koshkonong missed two straight free throws, and went one-for-four during a 25-second stretch that left the door wide open for the Bears.
The Bluejays were up 50-48 when Mammoth Spring had a chance to tie the game with a point-blank layup with six ticks on the clock. However, the layup didn't fall through for the Bears, and Roark hit a free throw to seal the deal for Koshkonong, with the Jays winning a hard-fought 51-48 contest over the Bears.
The first period was a back-and-forth battle, with four ties, the last at 9-all, until Godwin and Shipp canned back-to-back triples to push the Bears in front 12-9.
Danny Ulmanis (10 points) tossed in a pair of free throws to pull the Bluejays within three, down 14-11, after one.
Godwin made sure the Bears held onto the lead in the second, as he scored five of Mammoth Spring's nine points in the second.
But it was the Bluejays' firepower from the outside in the second half, as Koshkonong hit seven of its eight 3-pointers in the last two periods, that proved to be the difference in the game.
In the girls' clash, the Lady Jays survived a stone-cold four-minute drought just before the half to emerge with a tight six-point victory over Mammoth Spring.
It would be hard to imagine a team getting off to a better start than what Koshkonong did.
The Lady Jays jumped in front 12-0 to start the game, powered by 3-balls from Wade and Mandy Driskell (four points).
Shelby Frey (12 points) stopped Koshkonong's run with the Lady Bears' first bucket of the night with 2:21 left in the first.
Wade answered Frey's hoop by stepping behind the arc to jack her second triple of the frame, helping the Lady Jays to a 17-6 advantage after the first period of play.
Down but not out, the second period belonged solely to Mammoth Spring.
The Lady Bears outscored Koshkonong 15-7 in the frame, holding the Lady Jays to just two field goals in the stanza.
On the offensive end, Sierra Smoot (seven points) and Kayly Vest (17 points) drilled back-to-back triples early in the second to keep Mammoth Spring close.
Taylor Manger (six points) hit Koshkonong's last hoop, and last points of the second, a 3-pointer with 4:22 left until the break that kept the Lady Jays on top 24-12.
Mammoth Spring then went on a 9-0 run to close the first half of action.
A putback by Stevi Smith (10 points) ended the first half with the Lady Bears, who had trailed by 12 points earlier in the second, down by just three, 24-21, at intermission.
Then with the first shot of the third, a trey from Smoot, the Lady Bears locked the contest at 24-all.
The game was locked at 29-all when the Lady Jays opened a bit of room via a 6-0 run that pushed Koshkonong on top 35-29.
Then it was the Lady Bears' turn.
Mammoth Spring chipped in the next six points to tie things at 35-all with 10 seconds left in the third.
That was just enough time for Wade to catch an inbounds pass and drill a shot from just inside the arc at the buzzer, giving Koshkonong a 37-35 lead after three.
Ashley Holesapple, in foul trouble for most of the night, while also limping on a heavily-taped left knee, came up big for the Lady Jays in the fourth.
She tossed in eight of her 10 points for the game in the last period, all eight on free throws, as the Lady Jays moved in front to stay.
Koshkonong scored the first 10 points of the fourth, including a 3 from Wade, to go on top 47-35.
Mammoth Spring got as close as six points, but the Lady Jays held on to win 56-50.
Kendra Hall tallied nine points for Koshkonong, while Breezy Bailey added two.
Amy Young logged two points for Mammoth Spring and Bianca Paige added one.