Just four days after fending off a scrappy group of Cave City Cavewomen in a tight overtime game in the first round of the Lyon College Tournament, the Salem Lady Greyhounds were involved in another nail-biter in the tourney's quarterfinal round.
The Lady Hounds faced a tough opponent in their second round matchup Dec. 10, the Heber Springs Lady Panthers.
Salem appeared more than willing to take on this test as they gave the number-one seed Lady Panthers all they wanted before the Lady Greyhounds came up a couple of points short, falling 45-42 in another thriller.
With Heber Springs up by a single digit, 41-40, with 58 seconds left in the game, Lady Hound Ashley Smith swung the lead back in Salem's favor with a pull-up jumper in the lane at the 43-second mark. Smith led Salem with 14 points on the game.
The Lady Panthers grabbed the lead back on a jumper by Jennifer Blaney, before adding two free throws to pad their margin.
Holding a 45-42 lead with two seconds on the clock, Heber Springs made a critical error by fouling Smith, stopping the clock and giving the Lady Hounds a chance at a score.
Needing to hit the first free throw of the double-bonus, and then miss the second in hopes of a rebound and putback, the first shot from the charity stripe rimmed out for Smith, ending Salem's plans of an against-the-odds last second win.
Not wanting to fall behind early and be forced to play catch-up, Salem stayed with Heber Springs for the duration of the first half.
Just inside the one-minute mark of the first period, Brittany Bales (seven points) canned a jumper to tie the game at 10-all before Heber Springs hit a pair from the free throw line to lead 12-10 after one.
Heber Spring's margin stood at one, 25-24 at the half, before the Lady Hounds made their move in the third frame.
Smith started a 6-0 run for Salem by popping a baseline jumper, giving the Lady Greyhounds a lead they would hold throughout the third period.
Three buckets in a row late in the frame drew Heber Springs closer before Smith ended the period with a shot that kept Salem in front 32-31 after three.
The Lady Panthers erased this deficit with their first shot of the fourth period and built a four-point lead before the Lady Hounds rallied late and came up just a little short, as Heber Springs hung on late to win 45-42.
Heather Bales scored eight tough points in the paint for Salem, while Stephanie Barker and Hannah Bray added five each. Cassi Hickinbotham followed with three points for the Lady Greyhounds.