It's a given that most high school basketball teams would rather play on a weekday evening as opposed to tipping a game off a little past noon on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes it's just hard to get up and get motivated on a weekend morning to play hoops.
Whether this was the case or not, it sure looked the Cushman Lady Bulldogs would have preferred to be somewhere else, doing something else, as they squared off with the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears Jan. 21 in the first round of the 2006 Izard County Invitational Tournament at the Bearkatz Barn in Melbourne.
Sluggish from the outset, the Lady Bulldogs posted just four points in the first half before making a serious run in the second. The Lady Bears had enough gas in their tank to withstand this Cushman charge, with Mammoth Spring holding on to record a 44-34 win.
The seventh-seeded Lady Bulldogs looked unsure if they were even on a basketball court in the first half of play, not finding many good looks at the hoop and missing badly when they did find one, often not even drawing iron on their errant attempts.
The Lady Bears, however, had no such challenges logging points during this stretch.
Ann Whiteside (nine points) got Mammoth Spring, the number two seed, on the board with a layup to start the action.
After Cushman hit its lone field goal of the first period, the Lady Bears ripped off six straight points, including the last four of the frame by Ashley Walsh, to grab an 8-2 lead after one. Walsh paced Mammoth Spring with 12 points on the afternoon.
The Lady Bulldogs' woes followed them into the second, as Mammoth Spring continued to turn up the defensive pressure on Cushman, swiping the ball and cashing in with points.
Courtney Risner (seven points) went on a personal 7-2 run in the middle of the second for the Lady Bears, and Kayly Vest (five points) slammed the door on the first half with a triple near the end of the period that gave Mammoth Spring a commanding 23-4 advantage at intermission.
The second half of play would find the results a bit different, as Cushman woke from its slumber.
The Lady Bulldogs outscored Mammoth Spring 30-21 over the duration of the last two periods of play.
Maybe switching ends of the court helped revive Cushman, with the Lady Bulldogs ripping off a 7-0 run to start the third.
Whiteside stopped the run with a bucket at the 4:42 mark of the third, with the Lady Bears on top 25-11.
The Lady Bears hit the gas pedal hard to end the third.
Walsh chipped in with a pair of old-fashioned 3-point plays, while Whiteside and Melanie Maguffee hit a free throw apiece, as Mammoth Spring wrapped up an 8-1 late burst to stake a 35-18 lead after three.
To their credit, the Lady Bulldogs didn't fold, rather they kept chipping away. And although they outpaced Mammoth Spring 16-9 in the fourth period, the first-half hole they dug themselves into was just too much, with the Lady Bears hanging on to win by 10 points.
Kylee Busch finished with four points for Mammoth Spring, while Jodie Walsh had three, Jonnie Bellows two, and Heather Watson one.
In other senior-high action from the first round of the tourney, the Mammoth Spring Bears also recorded a win over Cushman, by the count of 49-40.
Cameron Kent led the way for the Bears with 15 points, with Gage Busch following with 14. Zach Sims added nine, and Tyler Mitchell hit for seven. Addison Guy and Ethan Gaines posted two points each for Mammoth Spring.
The Izard County Consolidated Lady Cougars got off to a good start in the county tournament with a 51-18 dis-missal of the Evening Shade Lady Tigers.
Haley Crotts and Brittney Richardson logged 10 points apiece for ICC, while Sammi Fowler added seven. Brittney Bailey and Keressa Campbell tallied six points each, with Trace Grinnell recording five. Chelsie Yancey had three, with Courtney Blevins and lane Norvold logging two points each.