The recent ice storm that swept through the region caused all kinds of havoc and even had an effect on the sports calendar.
But after a week-long lay off, including the cancellation of the annual Mountain Grove Tournament, the Thayer Bobcats finally hit the court Feb. 3 for a South Central Association showdown with the Willow Springs Bears.
The Cats ran out to a huge lead early, but then had to hold on late to knock off the Bears 54-50.
Thayer was understandably a little rusty, but still jumped out to a commanding 14-6 first-quarter lead.
The Bobcat defense took over in the second quarter forcing Willow Springs into a rash of turnovers.
Luke Martin, Jacob Eckman and Lance Schneider attacked the passing lanes, and were able to get their hands on the ball.
Eckman stepped in front of a Bears' pass and pitched a quick release to Ryan Veatch for another Bobcat bucket at the other end of the floor.
At the break, the Bobcats were in a comfort zone with a 30-13 lead.
But the second half of this SCA battle was slightly different.
The Bears got hot from behind the 3-point arc and were coming up with nothing but the sound of nylon as their shots splashed through. Thayer had went stone-cold flat and only managed eight points in the third, while giving up 21 points to Willow Springs.
Still, the Bobcats led 38-34 heading into the fourth.
Tension from the crowd was thick as fans began to sit on the edge of their seats for the final quarter.
The Bobcats switched into a man-to-man defense which helped to slow the open 3-point attempts, but Willow Springs ran a good set of screens to free up shooters, shooters who were deadly.
With 5:49 left in the fourth, Thayer held onto a one-point advantage, 41-40.
The Bobcats worked the ball inside to Jacob Eckman who was able to get off some bank shots underneath, while also getting fouled. Eckman was able to keep his high-percentage marks at the free throw line going, and the Bears were over the limit for team fouls. Teetering between a one-point or a four-point lead in the final two minutes of action, the Bobcats' defense stole the ball to seal the game with a 54-50 victory over the Willow Bears.