The Couch Indians dominated the first half with gutty, gritty defense, but the Thayer Bobcats re-grouped after the intermission break to edge past the Indians 36-33 in the opening round of the Cabool Holiday Tournament Dec. 26.
The ninth-seeded Indians kept the eighth-seeded Cats on their heels for the first two periods and Couch managed to forge a nine-point lead in the first half.
When the halftime break rolled around, the Indians were on top 14-9.
But Thayer got on track in the second half and midway into the fourth period, the Bobcats had built an eight-point lead.
But Couch didn't fold.
The Indians reeled off five straight points to pull with three, down 29-26.
Thayer missed three big free throws and Derrick Martin sank a layup to pull Couch within two, 30-28, with 1:50 left to play.
But Tommy Martin and Justin Shipp tossed in three important charity tosses each in the last minute of play to keep the Cats on top.
A jumper by Chris Taylor edged Couch within two points with 20 ticks left, but Thayer emerged from the scrap with a hard-fought 36-33 victory.
Shipp led Thayer with 10 points, while Ricky Smith added nine.
Martin and Taylor logged eight points apiece for the Indians.