The expected part -- it was no surprise that the Cave City Cavewomen and the Valley Springs Lady Tigers met in the finals of the 3A-1 East District Tournament Feb. 21 at Bobcat Country in Flippin. In addition, it was no shock the game was an intense defensive battle.
The un-expected part -- this time it did not take overtime to decide a winner. And the margin of victory was not two points.
Taking advantage of a sluggish second period by the Cavewomen, the Lady Tigers knocked off Cave City 42-36 to earn the district tournament championship, after Valley Springs had finished as regular-season runners-up to the Cavewomen.
The first time the two squads hooked up this year, the Cavewomen (24-4) slid past Valley Springs (31-5) 45-43 in overtime at Cave City. Round number two, in Valley Springs, went the Lady Tigers' way, 41-39, also in OT.
However, in the district tournament finals, Cave City, ranked number one in Class 3A, could only manage two points in the second period and were forced to play catch-up the last half of the game.
Cave City still advanced to the regional round in Bergman, where the Cavewomen were slated opposite Tuckerman.
The Cavewomen led 11-9 at the end of the first period against Valley Springs when the scoring lamp went dim for Cave City.
Hayley Scott (15 points) hit a trey to start the second period for Valley Springs, ranked number two in Class 3A, followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Klancey McElroy. Lexie Curtis then hit a layup and Scott sank a hoop in the paint to cap a huge 10-0 run for Valley Springs, giving the Lady Tigers a 19-11 lead.
Amelia Bray broke the ice for Cave City with a putback at the 2:08 mark of the frame for the Cavewomen's only points in the second. Bray paced Cave City with 11 points.
Scott tossed in a pair of freebies with 55 ticks left until the half, sending the teams to intermission with Valley Springs in front 21-13.
The deficit reached 10 points before Bray hit a free throw and Jessica Hall (six points) popped a jumper midway into the third.
Valley Springs remained ahead 28-19 after three.
Cave City kept its shoulder to the grindstone in the fourth and the Cavewomen finally found some success from behind the 3-point arc. Bray drilled one at the 3:59 point and Brittney Landers canned one at the 2:32 point that pulled Cave City within five, 35-30.
The Lady Tigers edged back in front by eight points with a minute left, but Cheyenne Childers (eight points) hit two charity tosses and an inside hoop that saw Cave City again behind by five points with 28 ticks left in the contest.
That was as close as Cave City could get and Valley Springs ended the evening with a 42-36 victory in the district tournament finals.
Brooklyn Brinkley finished with four points for the Cavewomen, while Haley Bell and Lindsey Wooldridge posted two points apiece.
In the semi-final round Feb. 19, Cave City jumped out to a fast start and then cruised to a 62-26 rout of the Yellville-Summit Lady Panthers.
Landers drilled back-to-back treys to help the Cavewomen grab a 12-0 lead to start the contest.
The Lady Panthers had turnover problems and Cave City held an 18-8 lead after the first period.
Yellville-Summit didn't record a single field goal in the second period and Cave City took a 39-11 lead to the halftime break. The Cavewomen kept rolling and were in front 51-20 after three.
Childers led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Wooldridge added 10. Bray finished with eight points, six steals and four assists. Hall and Landers finished with six points each. Whitney Bell, Brinkley (four assists) and Megan Graddy added four points each. Katie Freeman and Katie Stout logged two points apiece. Haley Bell and Rachel Roebuck posted one point each for the Cavewomen.