Though they were missing one of the prime movers on their squad, the Eminence Redwings sure didn't look the part of a team with any deficiencies in the finals of the Cabool Holiday Basketball Tournament.
The top-seeded Redwings had just four players score in the championship game, but all four of those players reached double digits and Eminence held off second-seeded Thayer 59-49 Dec. 30 to take top honors in the annual tournament.
Missing their 6-3 dynamo Austin Brewer, who is out with a thigh injury, the Redwings got a big game from guard Jay Williams.
Williams hit three treys on his way to a game-high 26 points for Eminence (10-0).
And it was probably from behind the 3-point arc where this game was won for the sharp-shooting Redwings.
For the game, Eminence knocked down 10 3-pointers, all coming at the proper time to keep the Cats (7-2) from gaining any real momentum.
The first three field goals of the game for the Redwings were treys, helping Eminence out to an 11-4 lead in the first period.
The Bobcats didn't stay down long and they went on a 9-2 burst late in the frame. Lance Schneider (14 points) started the run with a 3-ball, followed by a layup from Justin Shipp (11 points) and two charity tosses by Tommy Martin (six points).
Schneider slipped free for a layup that knotted the game at 15-all, but James Stephens had the last word for Eminence as he tossed in a 3-pointer at the horn to give the Redwings an 18-15 lead after one.
Things slowed down a bunch in the second period.
With Eminence in front 21-19, the Redwings decided to freeze the ball and try to pull Thayer out of its zone defense.
The Cats didn't budge from their defense of choice, but the Redwings did hold the ball at the top of the key for the last four minutes of the half.
With the clock heading to zero, Williams cut to the baseline and hit a jumper with two ticks left, sending the teams to intermission with Eminence in front 23-19.
In the second period, the Redwings scored five points, while Thayer countered with four.
The fast pace of the first period returned in the third and the Bobcats took their first lead since the opening bucket of the night.
Luke Martin (eight points) and Ryan Veatch (six points) hit back-to-back hoops to stake Thayer to a 27-25 lead with 5:20 left in the third.
But once again, Eminence unloaded from behind the arc, hitting three treys down the stretch in the third to retake the lead, 36-30 after three.
Then the Redwings opened their biggest advantage of the night in the fourth, breaking open a close, hard-fought affair.
A Jacob Eckman (four points) layup pulled Thayer within two points midway in the fourth, but Williams, Brody Fulk and Stephens uncorked back-to-back-back treys within the span of a minute to give Eminence a 49-38 lead.
Then to ice the game, Williams hit eight free throws in the last two minutes of the game to help the Redwings to a 59-49 victory.
In the semi-finals Dec. 29, the Bobcats overpowered the Fair Grove Eagles 57-36 behind a big night from Shipp.
He exploded for a game-high 30 points in the rout.
Thayer jumped in front 18-6 after the first period and when halftime rolled around, the Cats were ahead by 10 points.
Heading into the final frame, Thayer was in control 43-27.
Schneider logged 14 points for Thayer, with Eckman posting six, Luke Martin five and Veatch two.