As it was, Mammoth Spring's Seth Godwin and Thayer's Aaron Shipp had to settle for just keeping those packed inside the gym on the edge of their seats while their two squads engaged in a triple-overtime thriller that was chock full of big-time shots and incredible effort.
In the end, the visitors from Thayer came up with the right answer at the right time, edging past Mammoth Spring 61-58.
Godwin scorched the nets for a game-high 30 points, including five treys, while Shipp, making a return to the hardwood he called home until his sophomore year, poured in a team-high 25 points for the Bobcats.
Earlier in the evening, with considerably less drama than would follow in the boys' clash, the Lady Bobcats used a big second-half performance to top Mammoth Spring 72-55.
There was plenty of drama indeed as the Bears and Bobcats renewed their annual border battle.
Despite the lights-out shooting from behind the arc of Godwin, this game came down to a conventional 3-point play.
With the game knotted at 54-all after the second overtime, Thayer got its hands on the ball via a steal off the opening tip of the third extra frame. Shipp took the ball hard to the rack and tossed in a layup while getting hacked on the shot. Shipp canned the free throw to give the Cats a 57-54 lead. A lead Thayer would hang onto in the third overtime.
Mammoth Spring missed a couple of treys in the third OT that would have tied the game, but with four ticks left, Godwin still made his mark by banking in a leaning shot in the lane under heavy traffic, pulling the Bears within 60-58.
Shipp hit a charity toss with three seconds left to push Thayer in front 61-58. Mammoth Spring had possession of the ball with a shade under two seconds remaining but couldn't get a shot off, leaving the Bobcats with a draining 61-58, triple-overtime victory.
With Thayer holding a 42-40 lead deep in the fourth period, Godwin sank a knifing layup in the paint to lock things at 42-all with 14 seconds left in regulation.
Both squads had a chance to break the tie in regulation, but each side missed its final shot attempt, sending the contest to overtime squared at 42-all.
Lance Schneider (24 points) came up large for the Bobcats early in the first OT, as he hit back-to-back shots for Thayer, giving his team a 46-44 lead.
But just when it looked like the Cats had things in hand, there came Godwin. With a shade over two minutes showing, Godwin lost his balance, stumbled and fell to his knees, while guarded by two Cats. No big deal. Godwin kept his dribble alive and rose up to drill a 3-ball that switched the lead back to Mammoth Spring at 47-46.
Luke Martin (three points) hit a free throw with 51 seconds left that tied the game at 47-all, sending the game to overtime number two.
And in overtime number two, Godwin once again had a big impact, as he swished a trey with 46 seconds left that locked things at 54-all, requiring yet another extra period to determine the outcome.
The treys started falling early in this game, as the Bears' Caleb Brown (10 points) drilled one early in the first period, a shot that was answered quickly by a 3-ball from Schneider, the first of his two in the frame.
Mammoth Spring was down 12-7 late in the first, but Godwin sank a 3 and Trevor Vincent (10 points) ended the first with a stickback that sent the teams to the second period with Thayer ahead 14-12.
Thayer cooled down a bit in the second, while Mammoth Spring began to hit its stride.
Godwin and Brown nailed back-to-back treys for the Bears, starting a 9-0 run for Mammoth Spring.
Thayer halted the Bears' run with a free throw apiece from Schneider and Ryan Veatch, but Mammoth Spring led 23-19 at the break.
Then in the third, it was Thayer's turn at a big run.
Down 27-19, the Bobcats reeled off nine unanswered points to take a 28-27 lead with 4:05 left in the stanza.
Godwin came through with a triple to give the Bears the lead late, but Shipp got free for a layup that locked the game at 30-all heading into the fourth period.
Thayer grabbed the lead early in the fourth and kept it on its side for most of the frame, but Godwin kicked in Mammoth Spring's last four points of regulation to start the procession of overtime frames.
Wes Davis finished with six points for Mammoth Spring, while Chris Young added two.
Jacob Eckman tallied four points for Thayer, with Tommy Martin logging three and Josh Huckabee one.
In girls' action, the first half was a real fight with six ties and 10 lead changes in the first two periods of play.
But in the second half, Thayer's helter-skelter, full-court press finally caught up with Mammoth Spring and started to wear on the Lady Bears a bit.
The Lady Bobcats were in front 30-29 at intermission, but outscored the Lady Bears 25-11 in the third to move on top 55-40 after three.
Thayer finished things off by opening the final period on a 15-2 run to knock off Mammoth Spring 72-55.
Sierra Smoot got the Lady Bears off to a good start in the first by draining three of her four treys in the game within the first eight minutes of play. Smoot led Mammoth Spring with 16 points.
Thayer was down 13-8 when Micah Stevens canned a much-needed 3-ball for the Lady Bobcats at the 1:45 point of the first. Stevens led all scorers with a game-high 25-point effort.
The Lady Bears were in front 15-14 after one, but a Stevens' triple early in the second switched the lead to Thayer. This also signaled a bit of a scoring drought for the Lady Cats.
Jessy Jo Vest (11 points) got on track for Mammoth Spring and helped the Lady Bears to an 8-0 run and a 23-17 lead.
Thayer responded with six straight points, courtesy of Stevens, Lauren Hargus (seven points) and Kaley Hebert (eight points).
Lacey Hawkins nailed a big 3-pointer near the halftime buzzer to give Thayer a 30-29 lead at intermission.
Then in the third, Thayer's quickness and swarming defense started forcing a rash of Lady Bear miscues, forcing Mammoth Spring out of its comfort zone.
Thayer opened the third period with a 6-0 burst, before Shelby Frey (seven points) stopped the outburst with a 3-pointer.
Undeterred, the Lady Bobcats then reeled off 13 straight points to grab control of the proceedings. Samantha Oakes (11 points) hit a trey during this Thayer run, while Sara Riley (10 points) and Kristen Earls also added buckets.
Down 55-40 after three, Mammoth Spring just couldn't make enough ground to keep the Lady Bobcats from cruising in the fourth, en route to a victory by Thayer.
Laken Martin finished with four points for Thayer.
Bianca Paige tallied 10 points for Mammoth Spring, while Brittany Bearden and Amy Young added four points each. Erin Marshall logged three points for the Lady Bears.