Meeting up with the Valley Springs Lady Tigers for the fourth time on the year, and for the second time in a week, Cave City (26-5) lost in the regional championship game 46-28 Feb. 28 at Panther Palace on the campus of Bergman High School.
Despite the loss to Valley Springs, Cave City still earned a trip to the Class 3A state playoffs at Riverview High School in Searcy.
The Cavewomen were pitted against Harding Academy in the first round of state play.
A struggle to score early cost the Cavewomen dearly in their meeting with the Lady Tigers in the regional finals.
Valley Springs (34-5), ranked number one in Class 3A, opened the contest on an 8-0 run, establishing a lead that the Lady Tigers would not give up.
Amelia Bray (10 points) got the Cavewomen on the board with a free throw almost four minutes inside the start of the game.
Cave City, holding down the number two slot in Class 3A, was down 10-1 when Cheyenne Childers (11 points) broke free for a layup, but Kayla Carlton hit a trey right before the end of the first to give Valley Springs a big 13-3 lead after one.
The Cavewomen just could not get any long-range shots to drop, but Valley Springs' Westin Taylor (13 points) hit an early 3 in the second to extend the Lady Tigers' advantage to 16-4.
Cave City finally had a productive spurt and Jessica Hall and Childers hit back-to-back buckets for the Cavewomen.
A pair of charity tosses by Childers pulled Cave City within eight, 18-10, with 2:20 left before the half.
That left just enough time for the Lady Tigers to add some cushion to their margin.
Arielle Saunders (16 points) hit a hoop down low and Taylor peeled off five straight points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to send the teams to the half with Valley Springs in front 25-10.
Bray knocked down three free throws in the third period, while Childers connected on Cave City's first 3-ball of the night, but the Lady Tigers took a 36-18 lead to the final period.
Cave City had just fell into such a big hole early that the Cavewomen could not make up enough ground late, and Valley Springs earned its third win of the year against Cave City.
Lindsey Wooldridge finished with three points for Cave City, while Rachel McKenzie finished with two.
In the semi-final round Feb. 27, the Cavewomen hammered the Yellville-Summit Lady Panthers 63-36.
In opening-round action Feb. 26, the Cavewomen pulled away in the second half of the game to blowout the Tuckerman Lady Bulldogs 66-48.
Cave City was up by just four, 33-29, at the half. But Hall came out on fire in the third period and went on a personal 9-zip run for the Cavewomen during a two-minute stretch to extend her team's lead to 42-31.
Despite the fact that Bray (17 points) and Childers (10 points) were each playing with four fouls, the Cavewomen ended the third period on top 50-39.
Cave City continued to put pressure on the Lady Bulldogs (27-8) in the fourth and the Cavewomen rolled to a 66-48 victory.
The Cavewomen held an 18-12 lead after the first period.
Haley Bell paced the Cavewomen with 18 points in the game.
Brooklyn Brinkley finished with six points.
Brittney Landers added three, Wooldridge two and Amie Willmuth one for the Cavewomen.