The friendly confines of the Sreamin' Eagles Nest in Lynn was anything but friendly for the home team Oct. 24, as Hillcrest welcomed Melbourne for a pair of non-conference games.
Or more precisely, the free throw line was anything but friendly for the home team.
The Lady Screamin' Eagles went three-of-12 from the free throw line in the last 1:38 of their tilt with the Lady Bearkatz, while the Eagles missed the front end of five straight one-and-ones, along with both ends of a double-bonus, down the stretch in the fourth period of their tussle with the Bearkatz.
This abysmal display from the charity stripe didn't end up costing the Lady Screamin' Eagles, as they edged the Lady Katz 48-46, but it did play a role in the Screamin' Eagles' 56-38 loss to the Bearkatz.
On the girls' side of things, the last eight minutes were up for grabs, with both sides battling tooth-and-nail down to the wire.
Hillcrest held a 26-24 lead heading into the last frame, but Melbourne took its first lead of the second half midway into the period.
Olivia Morris (20 points) started a 7-zip run for the Lady Katz with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Holly Miller (two points) hit a jumper and Abby Cooper (seven points) added a pair of free throws to wrap up the run and push the Lady Katz ahead 34-32.
The Lady Screamin' Eagles grabbed the lead back for a couple of minutes until Autumn Henry drained a 3-ball at the 2:17 point of the fourth, putting her team in front 44-43.
Melbourne's points dried up at this point, with the Lady Bearkatz posting just one hoop and two points the last two minutes of the contest.
Still, the door wasn't completely closed, as Hillcrest struggled mightily from the charity stripe the last minute-and-a-half of the night.
Henry (10 points) hit Melbourne's last bucket of the game, with 14 ticks left on the clock, to pull her team within one, 47-46.
As it turned out, this was as close as the Lady Bearkatz could get, with Hillcrest hitting one free throw in four tries in the last 13 seconds of play, giving the Lady Screamin' Eagles a tight two-point win.
The game was close throughout, with Melbourne leading 6-3 after the first period of play.
Hillcrest came back to grab a 17-15 lead at the half, a lead it would hold until halfway into the fourth period.
Codi Wommack added six points for the Lady Katz, with Tori Rush logging one point.
While the Screamin' Eagles were saddled with the same woes from the charity stripe that their girl counterparts were, the boys from Hillcrest just couldn't get the ball into the basket by any means in the fourth period.
Melbourne held Hillcrest to just three points in the final frame, while the Bearkatz logged 12 points in the period en route to an 18-point victory. Over the last nine minutes of the game, Melbourne exploded to outscore the Screamin' Eagles 23-3.
The Bearkatz held the lead for most of the first period, but the Screamin' Eagles fought back to pull in front 14-12 after one.
It was Jesse Jenkins time in the second period.
Jenkins notched the first six points of the second to give the Bearkatz the lead. Jenkins scored nine points in the second, four more than the entire Hillcrest squad could post in that same time. Jenkins paced the Bearkatz with a game-high 27 on the evening.
Melbourne took a 23-19 advantage to the half, and had it converted on several fast break attempts, the margin could have been more.
After a feeling-out process in the first two periods, the Bearkatz got down to business in the second half of play.
Attacking Hillcrest with full-court pressure from the outset of the third period, the Bearkatz sped up the game and turned the Sreamin' Eagles over repeatedly in the second half.
With the game knotted at 29-all at the 4:05 point of the third, Melbourne outscored Hillcrest 15-6 down the stretch in the third to move ahead 44-35 after three.
This proved to be enough of a cushion for Melbourne, as the Screamin' Eagles lost their tailfeathers in the fourth.
With Hillcrest cold as ice from the free throw line and the floor, Melbourne went on a 10-0 run to seal the deal, winning 56-38.
Michael Lunsford posted 12 points for Melbourne, while Chase Moser and Tyler Wammack had six points each, while Logan Holloday had five.