As the calendar turns to a new year and conference races heat up, the games become tighter with the final scores much closer.Case in point: Jan. 14 as ICC hosted Mammoth Spring for a pair of 2AA-North Conference games that were decided with under 10 seconds left on the clock.ICC's Mandy Haney hit a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining in the game as the Lady Cougars edged the Lady Bears 37-35.
Jesse Dockins sank a free throw with eight ticks on the clock to give ICC a 53-52 win over the Bears.
In the girls' contest, the Lady Cougars managed to hold Mammoth Spring's Morgan Haney to just two points in the first half.
After falling behind 7-3 to start the game, the Lady Bears hit a couple of buckets to tie the game at 7-all after one.Mammoth Spring took their first lead of the game at 9-7 just inside the second period as Kaycee Estes (10 points) took an assist from Jessie Walsh and turned it into a hoop.
The Lady Cougars took the lead back at 16-13 as Blair Gay (12 points, seven boards) hit a pair of free throws with 2:42 left in the second.
A 6-2 run by Mammoth Spring closed the frame with the Lady Bears in front 19-18 at the half.
The Lady Cougars used a run of their own, 8-2, to open the third and take a 26-20 lead.
Seven straight points from Mammoth Spring, including a trey from Estes, swung the lead back on the Lady Bears' side at 29-26.
The Lady Bears' lead stood at 33-30 after three, and a hoop from Sarah Kersey to open the last period made it 35-30 Mammoth Spring.
The Lady Cougars had one last run left in them as Gay tipped in a miss and Mandy Haney (10 points) hit a turnaround and sank a free throw to knot the score at 35-all with 1:49 left in the game.
After Jessie Walsh missed an opportunity to give the Lady Bears the lead from the charity stripe with 1:28 left to play, the Lady Cougars got their hands on the ball but gave it back to Mammoth Spring with a turnover.
The Lady Bears, also feeling generous, couldn't hang onto the ball and gave ICC one more chance to break the tie.
The Lady Cougars didn't pass this chance up as they worked the ball around until Haney popped loose around the free throw line and hit the game-winning shot with three ticks left on the clock as ICC prevailed 37-35 in a tight game.
In boys' action, a game high 21 from Mammoth Spring's Kaleb Smith, all on 3-pointers, went by the wayside as the Cougars came away with a one-point victory, 53-52.
The Cougars ran out in front 10-5 in the first period as Justin Burns and Jesse Dockins hit back-to-back treys.
The Bears edged closer at 10-8 as Smith hit his second 3-ball of the period, but the frame ended as Dockins hit a floater to give ICC a 12-8 lead after one.
The Bears wrestled the lead from ICC midway into the second as they kept firing from long distance.
Andrew Burke hit a 3, followed by one from Wesley Whiteside (15 points), and finished off by Smith's third trey of the game, to give Mammoth Spring a 19-16 advantage.
After Robert Stephens (13 points, eight boards) hit a layup to tie the game with 30 seconds left in the period, Derrick Baldridge sank a shot from the charity stripe to give Mammoth Spring a 23-22 halftime lead.
The halftime break didn't cool off Smith any as he busted his fourth and fifth treys of the game to open play in the third.
Allen Roberts (12 points) fired off eight straight points for ICC to give the Cougars a 33-31 lead.
Adam Brown (12 points) hit a pair of layups to put the Bears in front 35-34, but it was only momentary as the Cougars closed with four straight points to lead 38-35 going into the last period.
Rex Burrow (12 points, 11 boards) extended the ICC advantage to 49-45 with 4:16 left in the game as he converted a traditional 3-point play.
Smith's last bomb of the contest drew the Bears within one, and Brown flipped in a layup at the 2:56 mark as Mammoth Spring once again held the lead at 50-49.
Burrow struck again with a turnaround jumper, and Robert Stephens sank a free throw to put ICC in front by two, which was followed by another layup from the Bears' Adam Brown to even things at 52-all.
The Bears had a chance to take the lead with a minute left, but turned the ball over to ICC.
The Cougars spread the floor and worked the ball around until Jesse Dockins (13 points) was fouled with eight seconds on the clock.
Dockins made one from the charity stripe to put ICC up 53-52.
The Bears hurried the ball downcourt and a shot by Brown was wide of the target, and Wesley Whiteside's stickback also missed the mark as the horn sounded, giving ICC a narrow 53-52 victory.