The Mammoth Spring Bears did their part to make sure that Valley Springs and Bergman would not run roughshod over the tourney field at the 37th annual North Arkansas College Invitational Tournament.
The seventh-seeded Bears knocked out second-seeded Valley Springs in the second round, helping to make sure that for the first time in 15 years, the championship game did not feature the Tigers, nor Bergman, playing for all the hardware.
But Mammoth Spring was denied the opportunity to bring home the first place trophy with a hard-fought 41-29 loss to top-seeded West Fork in the tournament finals, Jan. 8, at Pioneer Pavilion in Harrison.
In a physical game from the outset, the Bears were right in the hunt for the title until the three-minute mark of the third.
With the game locked at 22-all, thanks to a Chris Young layup, West Fork seized control.
Closing the third on a 9-0 run, including a pair of treys, West Fork moved in front 31-22 after three.
Caleb Brown (14 points) broke the run with four straight points to open the fourth for Mammoth Spring, but West Fork went on a 10-0 burst to seal the deal.
Houston Cooper and Mason Brown (four points) each hit charity tosses late, but West Fork captured the tourney title with a 41-29 victory.
The Bears came out blazing in the first period behind six points from Garrett Wooldridge (eight points).
West Fork used a pair of period-ending field goals to edge in front 10-8 after one.
Caleb Brown unloaded for six of the Bears' 10 points in the second, helping Mammoth Spring to an 18-15 lead at intermission.
Wooldridge, Caleb Brown and Cooper were all named to the All-Tournament team.
Facing their old 1A-2 North friends from Viola in the semi-finals Jan. 7, the Bears punched their ticket to the championship game with a 58-34 victory.
In the second round, The Bears blasted second-seeded Valley Springs 55-27 on Jan. 6.
Caleb Brown exploded for a game-high 30 points as the Bears avenged their loss to the Tigers from earlier in the season.
Mammoth Spring led 21-11 at the half and then blew the doors off Valley Springs by outscoring the Tigers 25-7 in the third period.
Chris Sanders paced Valley Springs with eight points.
In the opening round, Mammoth Spring slid past Rural Special 65-58 Jan. 4.
Wooldridge led the way with 18 points. Caleb Brown followed with 14, while Mason Brown and Matt Turnbough tossed in 12 points apiece. Cooper finished with 10 points.