Meeting for the third time this season, the Cave City Cavemen once again gave the state's top-ranked Class 3A team all they wanted.
But for the third time this season, the Valley Springs Tigers found a way to top Cave City, this time by a count of 48-38 in the finals of the 3A-1 East District Tournament in Yellville Feb. 20.
Save for the opening hoop of the game, Cave City trailed the entire way. But the Cavemen didn't let the powerful Tigers run all over them.
Down 32-26 after three, the Cavemen used back-to-back buckets from Thamail Morgan (six points) to open the final frame. Cave City closed the gap to one point twice in the fourth, the first time at 34-33 on a triple by Taylor Milligan (11 points) and the second time on a hoop in the lane from Zac Smith (six points).
However, Valley Springs answered Smith's bucket with a pair of 3-pointers from Trey Lynch that staked the Tigers to a 42-35 advantage.
The Tigers then hit six big free throws down the stretch to fend off Cave City.
Seth Foreman (nine points) started the game on fire for the Cavemen, as he drilled two deep 3-balls and scored all of Cave City's eight points in the first period.
The Cavemen trailed 13-8 after the first period and Valley Springs opened the second stanza with seven unanswered points to pull in front 20-8.
Cave City re-grouped late in the second and when intermission rolled around, the Cavemen were in a six-point hole, down 22-16.
Dexter Huckabee, Dalton Bell and Brandon Gillihan finished with two points each for Cave City.
Lynch led the Tigers with 16 points.