Justus Sparks tossed in a game-high 22 points and the Salem junior Greyhounds were money from the free throw line late, as they knocked off Rural Special 44-35 in the first round of the Izard County Invitational Tournament Jan. 17 in Brockwell.
The fourth-seeded junior Greyhounds led for most of the afternoon and they went eight-for-10 in the last two minutes of the game to hold off the fifth-seeded junior Rebels.
Sparks was fire in the final two periods of play and he scored 10 of Salem's last 14 points in the game.
The junior Hounds scored the first six points of the game, two from Colt Shaver, the other four from Sparks, getting Salem off to a quick start.
Rural Special came back and managed to outscore Salem 8-2 the last three minutes of the first period to lock things at 8-all after one.
Salem went on a 7-zip run in the middle of the second, keyed by buckets from Casey York (eight points) and Colby Harber (four points), to regain the lead.
Hadley DeShazo (four points) hit a free throw late and Sparks busted free for a layup with 10 ticks left on the clock to give the junior Greyhounds a 19-14 lead at the half.
And in the third, Salem continued to build its lead.
DeShazo opened the frame with a 3-ball, followed by layups by Jesse James and Sparks, giving Salem its biggest lead of the game to that point, 26-16.
The junior Rebels fought back, but Salem still took a 34-23 lead to the final period.
And in the fourth period, Sparks logged six points, while York contributed four, all from the charity stripe, to send Salem to the next round of the tourney with a 44-35 victory over Rural Special.
David Tarpley finished with two points for Salem.
The junior Lady Greyhounds were handed a 32-22 loss to the Mammoth Spring junior Lady Bears in the first round of the tournament.