With the game tied and a trip to the state tournament hanging on the line, Kody Caraway missed Melbourne's last shot in regulation.
But that's OK.
In overtime, Caraway didn't miss, burying two huge 3-pointers for Melbourne's only points in the extra frame, points that sent the Bearkatz to the state tournament with a thrilling 41-39 victory over Norfork in the third-place game of the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament in Brockwell Feb. 25.
Those two triples by Caraway were his only points of the game, and they couldn't have been any bigger for the Bearkatz (19-10).
Melbourne held a 35-30 lead late in the fourth period when the Panthers made their move.
Mark Lewis hit a 3-pointer and then Corey McGowan punched in a layup for Norfork to lock the game at 35-all.
The Bearkatz worked the ball around for the last minute-and-a-half of the fourth, and a long trey at the buzzer from Caraway missed its mark, sending the game into OT tied at 35-all.
Ethan Barnes started the extra period off right for Norfork with a layup that gave the Panthers a 37-35 lead.
Then Caraway struck for the first time.
He popped a triple from near the same spot in the right corner he had missed in the last second of regulation, giving Melbourne a 38-37 lead at the 3:02 mark of overtime.
Then Norfork turned the ball over on a traveling violation and with 1:18 left, Caraway bombed in his second trifecta, pushing the Katz on top 41-37.
Slade Williams edged Norfork closer when he put in a layup with 56 seconds left, pulling the Panthers within two, 41-39.
After a Melbourne turnover with 27 seconds showing on the clock, Caraway proved he can play a little defense as well as he can hit big 3-pointers.
He harassed Barnes into throwing a wild pass, a pass that was picked off by the Katz, forcing the Panthers to foul with three ticks left in the game.
But still Norfork had hope.
Melbourne missed the front end of a one-and-one and Norfork grabbed the rebound. But the Panther that grabbed the rebound also stepped on the end line, giving the ball, and the game, to the Bearkatz.
The first half of play was a classic back-and-forth struggle, with nine lead changes in the first two periods of play.
Tanner Hoskinds (six points) and Derek Baird (seven points) racked up Melbourne's first two buckets of the game, while All-Regional team member Michael Lunsford posted the Katz' last four points of the frame, giving his team a 13-12 lead after one. Lunsford paced Melbourne with 12 points.
Melbourne stretched this lead to 19-14 midway into the second, when Norfork struck back with a 4-0 run to pull within one, 19-18.
But Lunsford powered his way to the rack for a hoop, while Baird hit a layup just before the buzzer sounded to give Melbourne a 23-18 lead at intermission.
Norfork used a 6-0 run early in the third to once again edge within one, 25-24, when Lee Lewis (10 points) stopped the run with a big 3-ball for the Katz. Lewis played his way onto the All-Tournament squad for Melbourne.
Lewis added another trey late in the third to break a 28-all tie, helping Melbourne to a 31-30 lead after three.
And although Norfork managed to deadlock the game late in the fourth, Caraway came through when the chips were down in overtime, shooting down Norfork in a hard-fought contest that sent Melbourne back to the state tournament after a few year's absence.