By knocking the Izard County Consolidated Cougars out of the regional tournament last year, and by keeping the Cougars from laying claim to the conference title in recent seasons prior to that, the Melbourne Bearkatz have been a thorn in the side of their Izard County neighbors.
This year, it was the Cougars' turn to have the final say, as they ended the Katz' season with a 52-34 loss in the 2AA-North District Tournament on the campus of Sloan-Hendrix High School in Imboden.
In the process, the Cougars also snapped the Bearkatz' (4-25) impressive run of six consecutive district and regional titles.
The third-seeded Cougars took control of the game from the outset, posting a 14-4 lead on sixth-seeded Melbourne after the first period of play.
The Katz rallied a bit in the second, but ICC still held serve 22-17 at the half.
Using an 18-6 run in the third, the Cougars seized control once again and led 40-23 after three.
B.J. Gillespie paced Melbourne with 12, while Jesse Jenkins tallied 11.
Jason Sherrell tossed in a game-high 15 for ICC while grabbing nine boards. Justin Burns added 14 points, and Jesse Dockins, seeing his first action after missing four games due to an ankle injury, handed out nine dimes on the night.
The Lady Cougars pulled the same trick on Melbourne, finishing the seventh-seeded Lady Bearkatz' season with a 74-42 win in the first round of the district tourney Feb. 14.
Lady Cougar Brittney Richardson had a huge game for second-seeded ICC, tossing in 36 points in basically three periods of work on the night.
ICC sprinted out of the gates with a 10-2 game-beginning run that was just too much for coach Mark Manry's Melbourne squad to overcome.
The Lady Cougars went on to extend this margin to 18-9 after the first period, and 43-22 at the half. The Lady Bearkatz saw ICC close out the final frame with a 13-2 burst to end things.
Fresh off leading the junior Lady Bearkatz to the 2AA-North District Junior High Tournament crown two days earlier, Oliva Morris led Melbourne by tossing in a team-high 19 points against the Lady Cougars. Another freshman, Abby Cooper, also contributed to the cause with five points.
Stephanie Rutledge finished with six points, while Brittni Washington added five. Jackie Wommack, Larissa Christensen and Holly Miller tallied two points apiece for the Lady Katz.
Sammi Fowler added 14 points for ICC.