The Mammoth Spring Bears turned a close game at the half into an eventual blowout in the championship game of the 1A-2 North District Tournament Feb. 21 at the Cougars' Den in Brockwell.
Up by just three points at intermission, the second-seeded Bears hit fifth-seeded Hillcrest with a big 8-2 run early in the third and then used that momentum to cruise to a 65-49 victory over the Screamin' Eagles.
With the district tournament trophy to go with their co-conference championship from regular-season play, Mammoth Spring (22-8) advanced to the regional round at Bay High School, where it matched up with the Maynard Tigers.
In the district tourney finals against Hillcrest (16-12), Seth Godwin had a huge game for the Bears, finishing with a game-high 25 points. He also added five assists. Trevor Vincent followed close with 20 points in the title game for Mammoth Spring.
And both Godwin and Vincent were in the thick of things in the final frame, as the Bears pulled away from the Screamin' Eagles for good.
Godwin logged eight points in the fourth, with Vincent adding nine in the stanza.
Mammoth Spring led by 10, 38-28, after three. The Bears extended this lead in the fourth, opening with a 6-zip burst. Godwin hit a pair of free throws, Chris Young (four points) added a layup and Colton Goetting (four points, nine boards) capped the burst with a bucket in the lane that pushed Mammoth Spring on top 44-28.
Hillcrest's first three field goals of the fourth were treys, but by the time Vincent connected on an old-fashioned 3-point play, the Bears held a firm 53-37 lead.
The Screamin' Eagles finally ran out of gas and the Bears ended the night with a 16-point win over Hillcrest.
Godwin racked up a pair of triples in the first period of play, but at the end of one, Hillcrest had a 13-12 lead on its side.
That lead did not hold up for long, however.
Godwin started the second with a 3-ball, Goetting stuck back a missed shot and Houston Cooper (five assists) sank a 3-pointer to stake the Bears to a 20-16 advantage.
The Screamin' Eagles then went on a 6-0 run to move ahead 24-23.
But Vincent and Godwin came through with a bucket apiece, including one at the buzzer from Godwin, to send the teams to the half with Mammoth Spring in front 27-24.
Wes Davis (five points) racked up the opening hoop of the third, sending Mammoth Spring on a big 8-2 run to establish control of the flow for the Bears.
This turned out to be just what Mammoth Spring needed and the second period played out just as the Bears wanted.
Wes Coffey finished with two points for Mammoth Spring.
In the semis Feb. 19, the Bears used a big third-period run to oust the home team, Izard County, 58-36.
The Cougars (5-21) were within five points of Mammoth Spring in the third, 30-25, but then the Bears went on a big 14-0 run, outscoring Izard County 17-6 in the third to put the game away.
Izard County still earned a trip to the regional, where the Cougars were slated to face Bay.
Mammoth Spring led 8-6 after a tight first period and 25-19 at intermission.
Godwin tossed in 13 points to pace Mammoth Spring, while Vincent had 11 and Davis 10. Cooper finished with eight, Garrett Woodridge six and Goetting four. Young, Coffey and Nick Turnbough ended the game with two points each.
Ryan Walker scored eight points to lead Izard County. Josh Ball and Gerrick Smith posted seven points each. Jake Dockins netted five points, while Ethan Porter had four, Gage Wolford three and Caleb Cowan two.