The third seed was certainly the charm for the Sloan-Hendrix Greyhounds as they matched up with the Viola Longhorns in a rare non-conference meeting between the two 2AA-North schools.
Number three topped number two by the count of 64-63 Dec. 2 in the semi-final round of the 46th annual Williams Baptist College High School Basketball Tournament in Walnut Ridge.
The second-seeded Longhorns held a seven-point lead over the third-seeded Greyhounds late in the game, but Sloan-Hendrix used a late push to erase that margin in the final 72 seconds of the game to emerge on top in the battle.
The Longhorns (9-4) were paced in scoring by Kaleb West with 19 points on the night.
Bolstered by double-digit scoring efforts from Lucas Rains and Tyler Richardson, the Longhorns opened play in the tournament by besting the seventh-seeded Southside Southerners 52-43 Dec. 1.
Rains led Viola with 16 points, while Richardson followed close behind with 15 for the game.
Opening the game with purpose, the Horns jumped on top of Southside 9-3 by working the ball into the lane. The key number for the evening was 23. As in 23 Southside turnovers that the Horns were more than willing to turn into easy hoops.
Gathering themselves, the Southerners edged within two, 11-9, late in the period.
Lucas Talbert (eight points) extended Viola's lead with the Longhorns' first triple of the night, but Southside posted the last five points of the frame to lock matters at 14-all after one.
Thanks to pressure defense on the part of Viola, Southside was completely out of sync in the second period, as the Southerners could just not get anything to drop. The Longhorns held Southside without a field goal and just three free throws in the frame.
While Southside was struggling, Rains was having his way inside the lane with back-to-back-to-back hoops, helping the Longhorns to a 25-17 advantage at the break.
Forced to play catchup the entire second half, Southside just couldn't string together any kind of game-changing run and fell behind 38-27 after three.
Viola kept pushing the issue by attacking the basket and went on to notch a nine-point win over the Southerners.
West logged seven points for Viola, with Logan Stone adding six.