The Viola Longhorns got off to a slow start against Heber Springs Dec. 11 in the quarterfinals of the Lyon College Invitational Tournament and just could not make up enough ground to keep the Panthers from advancing to the semis with a 57-39 victory.
The Panthers found solid footing early and jumped in front 8-0.
Viola got on the scoreboard at the 3:15 mark of the first thanks to a layup from Jackson Rains (nine points). Blake Baumunk (nine points) added a bucket in the paint to pull the Horns within four, 8-4.
The Longhorns also had the last word on the first period as Jordan Cotter popped a jumper that cut Heber Springs' lead to 10-6 after one.
Viola hit a bit of a scoring draught in the second and watched as the Panthers pulled ahead 17-8.
Rains unleashed a big triple at the 5:29 mark that the Horns really needed to keep Heber Springs from opening up even more breathing room.
Still, the Panthers took a 25-19 lead to intermission.
Heber Springs finally managed to shake loose of the Longhorns in the third period.
The Panthers opened the frame on an 11-4 run, extending their lead to 36-23 with four minutes left in the third.
Marlin Coggins (six points) sank a pair of charity tosses to halt the Heber Springs run, but the Panthers then outscored Viola 6-1 in the remainder of the third to hold a 42-26 advantage heading into the fourth.
Viola showed some renewed spirit early in the fourth, thanks to the hot hand of Dylan Holstine.
Holstine came off the bench and drilled back-to-back-to-back triples for Viola, closing the gap to nine points with 4:11 left to play.
But once again, the Panthers had an answer.
Heber Springs closed the game on an 11-2 run to knock Viola out of the tourney by the score of 57-39.
Ethan Houghtailing and Trey Ressler finished with two points each for the Longhorns.
The Longhorns opened tournament play with a 45-42 victory over the Harding Academy Wildcats Dec. 6.
Rains paved the way with 14 points for Viola, with Holstine adding 11.