Mikita Thompson made sure the Viola Lady Longhorns got off to a good start early in their non-conference battle with the Couch Lady Indians Dec. 17 at the Longhorn Corral.
Thompson busted a pair of treys in the first period to give the Lady Horns the early lead.
And while that was nice, she made sure her early work held up late by scoring six straight points in overtime to help Viola edge past the Lady Indians 53-48, giving Couch its first loss of the season.
The boys' clash between Viola and Couch was also decided late in the going, with Austin Springfield nailing a big triple with 22 ticks left on the clock to send the Longhorns to a hard-fought 47-45 victory over their visitors from across the state line in Missouri.
In the girls' game, neither side was able to open much breathing room through the first four periods of play, and Lady Longhorn Taylor Griggs (10 points) canned a pair of big charity tosses with 12 seconds left in the game to lock matters at 41-all.
Couch still had one last shot, but a long 3-pointer missed its mark, sending the contest into an extra frame knotted at 41-all.
That's when Thompson came up Aces for the Lady Horns.
Chasidy Hutson (seven points) broke the tie with a couple of free throws for Viola and then Thompson (14 points) was able to give the Lady Longhorns the separation from Couch they just couldn't get in regulation.
She drilled a 3-ball and was also fouled on the shot, racking up a rare four-point play.
Not yet done, she knocked down two more free throws to push Viola in front 49-41.
But the Lady Indians were not ready to wave the white flag just yet.
Sadee Risner (four points) stuck back a missed shot and then Tara Combs swished a huge trey with 1:09 left in overtime to pull Couch within three, 49-46. Combs led all scorers with 21 points for the night.
But that three-point gap was as close as the Lady Indians could draw, and Elisabeth Collins (14 points) hit two free throws with seven ticks left on the clock to give Viola a tough 53-48 win over Couch.
Thanks largely to Thompson's two 3-pointers in the first period, the Lady Longhorns held a 14-10 lead after one.
Couch pulled on top 15-14 early in the second with a Combs hoop and free throw from Whitney Mills (13 points).
But then Viola went on a 9-0 run, spurred by a triple from Dedra Johnston (five points), to move ahead 23-17 at the half.
The second half was as close as the first had been, with Viola clinging to a 29-26 advantage after three.
The Lady Indians were finally able to pull even, at 38-all, for the first time in the second half on a long-range trey from Mills with 2:28 left in the fourth.
Jessica Jones (five points) then gave Couch its first lead, 41-39, since the second period on an old-fashioned 3-point play with 47 seconds left in the fourth.
But thanks to a pair of free throws from Griggs with 12 seconds left, the Lady Longhorns were able to extend the game long enough to finally pull away in the extra frame.
Kristen Montgomery logged two points for Viola, while Leslie Barker added one.
Lorra Wicker scored three points for Couch, with Kassi Burr finishing with two for the Lady Indians.
While the action on the boys' side was as close and intense, it didn't take overtime to settle the outcome.
But it easily could have.
The Longhorns held a 44-38 lead with a shade under three minutes left in the game, but some missed chances from the free throw line kept hope alive for Couch.
Viola missed the front end of two straight one-and-ones and the Indians took advantage of that gift.
Zain Hopper (10 points) started a 5-0 run for Couch with a jumper, followed by a charity toss from Brad Hopper (three points) and tipin by Blake Martin (13 points) that pulled the Indians within one, 44-43, with 1:17 left to play.
The Longhorns pushed the ball downcourt and spread the floor on their next possession, but Brad Hopper came up with a steal and took it to the house for a layup that pushed Couch in front 45-44 with 52 seconds showing on the clock. That was Couch's first lead since early in the second period.
But Austin Springfield (eight points) came up cool as a cucumber and drained a huge 3-pointer at the 22-second mark to put Viola back in charge at 47-45.
Couch turned the ball over with six ticks left, but Viola missed another one-and-one opportunity to give the Indians one last gasp at victory.
But Kasey Humphries made sure the Indians didn't get that chance by stealing the ball on Couch's next possession to preserve Viola's two-point win.
Humphries (17 points) buried two 3-balls in the first period, but Couch was also ready to battle from the outset and Zain Hopper tossed in the Indians' first six points of the game down on the low blocks.
With Hopper inside, Derek Orchard and Martin bombed in a trey apiece to give Couch a 12-10 advantage after one.
Then Lucas Rains got busy for the home team.
He racked up Viola's first two buckets of the second period to give the Horns a 15-14 lead. Rains fired in a game-high 20 points for Viola.
Couch swiped the lead with a quick 7-0 burst on a 3-pointer from Eddie Meier (four points), layup by Cody Roberts (six points) and hoop from Jake Lawrence, moving the Indians on top 21-15, their biggest lead of the game.
But Viola restored order by closing the half on a 9-0 streak.
Rains started the push with a layup, Ethan Houghtaling (three points) sank a bucket, Humphries drilled his third trey of the first half and Springfield sank a jumper to send the teams to intermission with Viola on top 24-21.
Couch edged within two points in the third, but Viola managed to remain on top 40-33 after three.
And while the Indians did get over the hump late in the fourth period, Springfield righted the ship for the Horns by canning a big 3-pointer, pushing Viola to a 47-45 victory.
Marlin Coggins finished with two points for the Longhorns.