The Izard County Cougars certainly had their hands full in the opening round of the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament Feb. 25 at Bay High School.
Not only was the Cougars' opponent champions of the 1A-3 east District Tournament, they were also the sixth-ranked team in Class 1A and were owners of the home-court advantage -- the Bay Yellowjackets.
And in the end, the Yellowjackets (29-9) were just too much for the young squad from Izard County (5-22), and Bay advanced to the semi-final round with a 73-46 victory over the Cougars.
Later in the week, Bay claimed the regional tournament championship with a big win over Norfork.
The normally hot-shooting Yellowjackets really didn't light things up from the outside against Izard County, Bay hit just five 3-pointers in the game, but the outside shots the Yellowjackets did hit complemented their inside game just right.
Making things tougher in the interior for the Cougars was when Ryan Walker (two points) picked up his third foul with 4:26 left in the first period, leaving Izard County without its biggest post presence for the remainder of the first half.
Despite this, Izard County hung tough in the first period.
Bay led 7-2 when Ethan Porter (12 points) hit a free throw and Gage Wolford (seven points) banged in the first of his two treys in the game to pull Izard County within one, 7-6.
The Cougars were also within two at the end of the frame when Bay's Devin Griffin hit a 3-pointer to add to the Yellowjackets' margin, 15-10 after one.
Bay began to pull away in the second period, as the Yellowjackets limited the Cougars to just five points in the frame.
Preston Harmon (nine points) sank the first of his three treys in the second and Gerrick Smith (five points) added a layup for Izard County's only points in the second.
The Yellowjackets closed the first half on a 16-2 run to turn a 17-13 game into a 33-15 cushion for Bay at the half.
Bay continued to pound the boards in the third, never letting the Cougars claw their way back into contention.
Porter hit a 3-ball early in the third, while Smith and Wolford added two more bombs from beyond the arc, but the Yellowjackets refused to slow down.
Near the end of the third, Harmon tossed in Izard County's fourth triple of the stanza, but Bay took a 51-36 lead to the final period, en route to a 73-46 victory.
Jordan Everett finished with five points for the Cougars, while Kyle King, Josh Ball and Jed Yarnell added two points each for Izard County.
Troy Brown paced the Yellowjackets with a game-high 17 points, while Eric Bowers added 10.