It took a late push, but the Cave City Cavemen managed to defend their turf and post a 60-52 3A-1 East Conference win over the Salem Greyhounds Nov. 17.
Earlier in the evening, the homestanding Cavewomen helped to make it a sweep of Salem with a 68-47 victory.
On the boys' side of things, the outcome was certainly up for grabs heading into the fourth frame, with Cave City clinging to a 38-37 lead after three periods of play.
However, Cave City's Jared Harris wasn't pleased with this situation, and he did something about it. Harris tossed in seven of his nine points for the game in the last eight minutes of play to help the Cavemen pull away.
Cave City forced Salem into a couple of quick turnovers to start the fourth, turnovers that led to a pair of layups and 42-37 advantage for the Cavemen.
The Hounds chipped away, and a pair of free throws from Seth Lindbloom (eight points) and a baseline jumper by Jeff Nelson (four points) pulled Salem within three, 44-41.
This turned out to be as close as the Greyhounds could get, although Cave City did keep the door open a bit for a late Salem charge.
The Hounds drew two fouls while in the act of shooting 3-pointers in the game's last 2:30, as Salem trailed by seven at that point, but a two-of-six showing from the charity stripe didn't help their cause any.
Lance Powell did drain a trey at the buzzer, but the Greyhounds fell by eight points. Powell paced Salem with a game-high 20 points on the evening.
Cave City likes to get up and down the court, especially at home, and the Greyhounds were eager to oblige, as Salem hit the court at full-throttle to begin the game.
Derek Estes (10 points) tossed in six of Salem's first eight points in the contest, helping put the visitors out in front 8-0 early in the first period of what would be a nip-and-tuck first half of action.
Cave City was down 12-7 with a shade over two minutes to play in the first before the Cavemen came to life.
Jordan Smith (12 points) started a 6-0 burst for Cave City with a layup, followed by hoops from Jonathan Hunter (14 points) and Brandon West (14 points), that gave the Cavemen their first lead of the night, 13-12.
Shane Smith (eight points) stopped this Cave City run with a bucket for Salem, but Dilan Willmuth (six points) canned a jumper and Aaron Holley drilled a trey to push the Cavemen on top 18-14 after one.
The second period was equally close, and Salem moved back in front thanks to some careless ball handling on Cave City's part.
Fueled by a spate of Cave City turnovers, the Hounds ripped off an 11-0 burst over a four-minute stretch in the second.
Powell started things off with a bank shot off the glass, and Shane Smith kicked in with a pair of layups off steals.
Two free throws from Powell at the 1:44 mark of the frame gave Salem a 26-20 advantage.
Then it was the home team's turn.
Using a 6-0 run of their own with 58 ticks left before the break, Cave City stormed back.
West got the ball rolling with a layup, followed by a bucket from Hunter. Two free throws by Smith locked the game at 26-all at intermission.
The third period saw a couple of ties and four lead changes before the Cavemen logged the last two hoops of the frame to take a 38-37 lead into the fourth period. A period in which Cave City managed to open up some breathing room en route to a 60-52 win.
Tyler Little finished with two points for Cave City.
Alex Smith posted two points for Salem.
In the girls' clash, the Cavewomen got their wheels rolling early and didn't slow down until they had posted a big 3A-1 East victory over Salem.
As if Cave City's intense defensive pressure wasn't enough, the Cavewomen were also sharp behind the 3-point arc against Salem, knocking down 12 treys on the evening. Jordan Witt and Leah Fugett nailed four triples apiece for Cave City. Witt paced the Cavewomen with a game-high 18 points, while Fugett, a Harding University signee, followed with 16 points.
Ashley Cassidy led the Lady Greyhounds with 12 points, with Lairen Hall adding 11. Hall had a productive outing from deep range, canning three treys for the game.
Jenny Neal (six points) spun free inside the paint for a hoop that made the score Cave City 7, Salem 6, midway into the first period.
Then the Cavewomen caught fire.
Cave City outpaced the Lady Hounds 9-3 down the stretch in the first to move on top 16-9 after one. Fugett dropped in the last two hoops of the frame for Cave City.
Turnovers by Salem in the second period kept the Lady Hounds' wheels spinning in neutral, helping Cave City to pull away.
With Cave City in front 21-15 at the 5:20 mark of the second, Brittney Landers (11 points) and Rebekah Roebuck (11 points) blasted in a pair of 3-balls to jump-start a period-ending run for the Cavewomen.
Fugett capped the first 16 minutes of play with a triple that gave Cave City a 34-18 lead at intermission.
It was Witt's turn to do the damage in the third.
She scored Cave City's first eight points of the period, including two treys, to extend the Cavewomen advantage to 20, 42-22, early in the frame.
Cave City took a 56-33 lead into the final stanza.
The Lady Hounds were not quite finished, and Salem came out of the gates strong in the fourth.
Jamie Janes opened the final eight minutes of play with a jumper for Salem, followed by a hoop inside by Jordan Nelson (eight points). Hall capped a 7-0 burst for the Lady Greyhounds with her last 3-ball of the night at the 5:46 mark.
Witt stopped this Lady Greyhound uprising by draining back-to-back 3s, restoring order and giving Cave City a 62-40 lead.
For good measure, Fugett and Kendra Vickery each hit a 3-pointer in the game's final minutes, keeping Salem at bay and giving Cave City a 68-47 victory.
Kayla Qualls added five points for Cave City, while Whitney Stauffer finished with four for the Cavewomen.
Kelly Passmore tallied three points for the Lady Greyhounds, with Tiffany Broyles and Leslie Taylor adding two points each for Salem.