Although they led the entire way, the Viola Longhorns had to weather a fiery comeback effort from the Salem Greyhounds to leave the Dawg Pound with a hard-earned 47-41 non-conference victory Dec. 1.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Longhorns had their way in a 61-39 win over the homestanding Lady Greyhounds.
In the boys' clash between the neighboring Fulton county schools that are separated by just 10 miles, the Longhorns looked to be in total control with a 32-18 advantage deep in the third period.
Then, Salem found its second wind.
Shane McNeace got free for a hoop that started a period-ending 6-0 run for the Hounds. Clint Ray closed the book on the third with back-to-back buckets that saw the period end with Salem down 32-24. Ray led all scorers with 23 points in the game.
Just because the third period ended, that didn't mean the Greyhounds were through making their move.
Brandon Godfrey (four points) stuck back a missed shot and Ray hit a jumper and knocked down a trey to pull Salem within three, 34-31, with 5:54 left in the game.
But three points was as close as the Greyhounds would get to the Longhorns.
Dylan Holestine (seven points) helped right Viola's ship with a pair of hoops and a layup from Jordan Cotter (seven points) put the visitors back on top by seven, 38-31.
Ray kept firing and drilled another trey, but Ethan Houghtaling (10 points) and Cotter each hit buckets to keep Viola on top.
With 25 ticks left on the clock, Ray busted his third triple of the final frame, but Holestine and Jacob Payne (five points) hit a couple of big free throws to end the game with Viola in front 47-41.
The Longhorns opened the contest with a 6-0 run, as Blake Baumunk (12 points), Jackson Rains (three points) and Cotter all hit deuces for Viola.
Dustin Ray (four points) and Colby Harber (four points) hit back-to-back buckets to edge Salem within four, 13-9, after one.
Hadley DeShazo (four points) knocked down a trifecta early in the second for Salem, but Viola closed the first half with a 6-1 run to take a 22-14 lead to the half.
The Longhorns began to pull away in the third period, thanks to a 6-0 run, keyed by two straight hoops in the paint from Baumunk.
But although they fell behind by as many as 14 points in the third, Salem managed to re-group long enough to keep the Longhorns from running away with the contest with a 10-0 run late in the third and early in the fourth.
Matt Prinner finished the game with three points for the Longhorns.
In the girls' matchup, the Lady Longhorns jumped out to a big lead in the first period and refused to let Salem get very close the rest of the game.
The Lady Hounds struggled from the floor in the first and ended the frame with no field goals and just five free throws to show for their efforts.
Taylor Griggs (15 points) took control of the paint right from the get-go and her personal 5-0 run helped Viola open up a 7-1 lead.
When Heather Simmons (six points) knocked down the first of her two treys in the game, and Leslie Barker (15 points) canned the first of three bombs, the Lady Longhorns enjoyed a 15-3 advantage.
Chelsea Maguffee (15 points) hit a pair of charity tosses to end the first period, but Salem was in a 15-5 hole after one.
Jamie Bell (11 points) hit Salem's first field goal of the game to start the second, but then Michaela Thompson made her presence known.
Posting back-to-back-to-back buckets down low, Thompson helped push Viola in front 21-7 with 4:50 left until the half. Thompson tossed in a game-high 18 points for the Lady Horns.
Viola kept the Lady Greyhounds off balance for the remainder of the first half and went intermission rolled around, the Lady Longhorns were on top 32-15.
Callen Curtis (five points) came out firing in the third period for Salem, but Barker ripped off seven straight points to keep Viola on top 43-22 with 2:19 left in the third.
Maguffee broke the run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, but then the Lady Horns simply squeezed off the next six points to take a 49-29 advantage to the final frame.
Alex Duncan finished with four points for Viola, while Leslie Shrable had two and Dedra Johnston one for the Lady Longhorns.
Bethany Pate, Whitney Rose and Mona McNeace logged two points apiece for the Lady Greyhounds.