But time and time again, the Viola Lady Longhorns repeled the Lady Tigers, usually by dumping the basketball down low to Michaela Thompson and letting her wreak havoc on Green Forest's interior defense.
However, in the end, this one was settled at the free throw line.
Using some clutch tosses from the charity stripe when it mattered most, the Lady Longhorns knocked off Class 3A Green Forest 42-38 in the championship game of the Arvest Bank/Modern Woodmen of America's Flippin Invitational Tournament Nov. 12 at Bobcat Country in Flippin.
The win kept Viola unblemished on the season at 12-0, while Green Forest (3-1) suffered its first setback of the year.
Both teams played exceptional defense in the first half, with Viola leading 7-4 after one. The Lady Longhorns never trailed in the contest.
Green Forest pulled even in the second on a 3-pointer from Kodee Powell (16 points), but Kiersten Moore hit a pair of hoops late to help Viola in front 17-13 at intermission. Moore finished with 14 points in the game.
The Lady Tigers simply had no answer for Thompson. She torched Green Forest for a game-high 21 points, with most of her hoops coming with two and three defenders draped on her.
The Lady Tigers pulled within a point, down 21-20, midway into the third on a 3-pointer by Makynna Jorgensen.
Viola then closed the frame on an 8-2 run, keyed by Thompson and Moore.
Green Forest refused to throw in the towel and ,thanks to a 10-2 spurt in the fourth, once again eased within a single point of Viola at 34-33.
The Lady Horns were whistled for an offensive foul and a 5-second count on back-to-back trips down the floor, leaving the door open for Green Forest.
But the Lady Tigers could never get any closer than that one-point defecit in the last 1:45 of play.
Viola hit six of eight free throws to hold Green Forest at bay.
A 3-pointer from Powell at the 56-second mark made the score Viola 40, Green Forest 38.
Moore and Hannah Duvall (three points) then hit a free throw apiece to push Viola in front 42-38.
With time winding off the clock, Moore helped seal the deal by blocking Powell's last 3-point attempt of the evening to leave the Lady Horns with the four-point victory.
Leslie Shrable finished with four points for Viola.