The first five minutes of the first period, along with the first five-and-a-half of the third period were exceptionally unkind to the Izard County Lady Cougars in the opening round of the annual Izard County Invitational Tournament Jan. 17.
Mammoth Spring made sure of that.
The Lady Bears outscored Izard County 10-0 to start the game, and then followed that up by outscoring the Lady Cougars 9-0 to start the second half, helping Mammoth Spring to a 46-32 victory at the Cougars' Den in Brockwell.
The fourth-seeded Lady Cougars did rally in the second half, but just could not make up their slow start at the beginning of each half.
Jessy Jo Vest started things off for the fifth-seeded Lady Bears with a pair of charity tosses. Then, Sierra Smoot (13 points) drilled the first of her two 3-balls in the first period, followed by a jumper in the lane by Shelby Frey (six points).
Before Izard County knew what had happened, the Lady Cougars were in a 10-0 hole.
Kaylee Cooper drilled a trey with four ticks left on the clock, giving the Lady Cougars their first hoop of the game.
Mammoth Spring kept adding to its lead in the second and a trey from Bianca Paige (13 points) put the Lady Bears up 16-7 with three minutes left until the half.
Trisha Arnold (eight points) broke free for a layup and Rachel Harmon (11 points) blasted a late trey for Izard County, but Smoot had the last say in the first half and she drilled a 3-ball that gave Mammoth Spring a 22-12 advantage at intermission.
Then came the start of the third period, which also belonged to the Lady Bears.
Paige jump-started the frame with a trey, followed by back-to-back hoops by Vest. Paige then capped Mammoth Spring's 9-0 burst with a layup that moved the Lady Bears on top 31-12.
Izard County began digging and the Lady Cougars closed the third on an 8-0 run, with Harmon kicking in six of those points.
Still, Mammoth Spring took a 31-20 advantage to the final period of play.
Sarah Taylor (three points) hit a layup and Emily Crider knocked down a 3-pointer early, but the Lady Bears managed to weather Izard County's comeback attempt to post a 46-32 victory.
Kristen Doty finished with four points for the Lady Cougars.