The annual Border Battle between Mammoth Spring and Thayer provided its usual intense brand of basketball Dec. 9 at the Bears' Den in Mammoth Spring, highlighted by a couple of dynamite individual performances on the evening.
Despite a game-high 30-point explosion from Lady Bobcat Lashanda Horton, Thayer dropped a 68-52 decision to the Lady Bears.
The Bobcats evened things on the night by knocking off the homestanding Bears 68-43, negating a monster night on the boards by Derick Felton, as he grabbed 22 rebounds to go along with 12 points for Mammoth Spring.
It was evident from the outset what the Lady Bears gameplan was in their tilt with Thayer: pressure the ball, pressure the ball, pressure the ball.
This full-court, trapping defense worked like a charm early for Mammoth Spring, as the Lady Bears held Thayer without a field goal the first period of play, jumping in front 13-1 at the end of the frame.
The Lady Cats woke up out of their funk a bit to open the second period, blasting to an 11-0 run that pulled them within a single point, 13-12 at the 4:58 point of the period.
Horton was responsible for seven points during that stretch, nailing the first of her six treys on the night in the Thayer run.
Both sides dried up from the field at this point, as free throws took over for the remainder of the half.
Mammoth Spring hit eight from the charity stripe to build their cushion back before the half, taking a 27-19 lead to intermission.
The Lady Cats made things interesting early in the third as Horton came out on fire, jacking back-to-back triples to help Thayer edge closer, down 29-25.
Madison Busch immediately led the Lady Bears on a 8-0 blitz to re-establish some breathing room for Mammoth Spring. Busch paced the Lady Bears with a team-high 22 points and also grabbed 11 boards on the night.
By the end of the third, the Lady Bears' margin stood at 51-33.
Horton nailed three more 3-balls in the fourth, but the Lady Bears had an answer at every turn, keeping in front en route to a 68-52 victory.
Ann Whiteside finished with 17 for the Lady Bears, to go along with 13 rebounds, while Amanda Nix added 14, and Jodie Walsh 13. Jonnie Bellows tallied two for Mammoth Spring.
Horton accounted for over half her squad's output on the night and was the Lady Cats' only player in double figures. Tasha Wrenfrow finished with eight, Heather Coffel four, and Autumn Forschler three. Valerie Dixon, Brittany Allen and April Risner added two points apiece. Tiffany Poulette posted one point for Thayer.
Although their new up-tempo offensive attack is poised to cause headaches for opponents this season, it was Thayer's defense that took top billing in their scrape with the Bears.
The Bobcat defense held Mammoth Spring to two field goals in the first period, three in the second and four in the fourth as they remained unbeaten at 2-0 on the young year with the win over the Bears.
The Cats jumped on top early, using a pair of 3-pointers from Layne Hawkins to grab a 17-7 advantage after one. Hawkins drained five 3-balls on the night, to the tune of a game-high 22 points.
Most of the Bears' success on the night came via second-chance points thanks to Felton's glass-cleaning efforts.
Trailing 29-17 at the half, Dustin Madden (10 points) provided a spark for the Bears in the third with a pair of shots from behind the arc. Hawkins also tossed in a couple for Thayer, and Brett Ward (16 points) connected on a triple for the Cats as well.
Ward sank his second 3-pointer just inside the start of the fourth, pushing Thayer in front 57-35 on their way to the win.
Josh Wemlinger totaled 15 points for Thayer, while M.J. Clark and Justin Cooper added three points each. John Tollenaar, Andrew Eckman, Dustin Gaines and Eric Veatch finished with two points each for the Cats.
Logan Lawrence and Cameron Kent tallied six points apiece for the Bears, and Trent White added five. Jesse Gaines and Zach Sims added two points each for Mammoth Spring.