The inaugural River Country Chevrolet Classic played host to several of our area teams. In the junior high tournament, the Salem junior Greyhounds took third place by beating Willow Springs 37-34. In the consolation bracket, the Mammoth Spring junior Bears fell to Neelyville 58-44 in the final game.
Salem beat Mammoth Spring on Thursday, in Salem's second varsity game of the season. The win put Salem into the championship game of the consolation bracket. Salem eventually lost 78-67 to the Neelyville Tigers.
Even with two teams in the tournament, the marquee match up of the tournament for residents of Fulton County was the Bears and Greyhounds duking it out.
Mammoth's sophomore starter Collin Powell gave the Bears their first score. With just three minutes left in the first quarter, Salem had taken a three point lead off a Cody Faulkner basket, but just over a minute later, Mammoth Spring senior Matt Turnbough sank a three to put the Bears ahead 10-9. Salem junior guard J.J. Gray responded with a lay-up to put the Hounds ahead. Mammoth put in a shot on their next possession, but Gray hit a jumper on the other end to keep Salem's lead intact, 13-12 to end the quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Mammoth senior Cortley Rutledge hit one of two free throws to knot it up at 13. Rutledge then made a play on the defensive end by grabbing a steal, he then found Turnbough on the wing, and Turnbough sank a three to give Mammoth the lead.
After a timeout, Mammoth senior Craig Hoover hit two free throws to give the Bears an 18-13 advantage with 5:40 left. Thirty seconds later, Turnbough grabbed a steal and streaked down the court. The senior went up for a lay-up, hit the shot and drew a foul from Salem senior Justus Sparks. After hitting the free throw, Turnbough had put Mammoth Spring ahead 21-13.
But with just over four minutes left in the half, Salem senior Blake Hensley hit two free throws to cut the lead to two points. Mammoth responded with a basket, but Gray hit a shot to cut the lead to one. Sparks got a steal on the next play and ran down court for a lay-up to put Salem back in front with 3:33 left in the half.
A lay-up by Gray put Salem ahead 27-23 with just over a minute left, the score would remain the same until after half time.
For the first five minutes of the third quarter, Salem's lead was between two and four points, but a basket by Hensley put Salem up 39-33. The Greyhounds built the lead to 43-35 when the third quarter ended.
A 6-0 run by Mammoth was stopped when Sparks hit a lay-up early in the final period to put Salem ahead 47-42. With just over four minutes left in the game, that lead had extended to 52-42. Turnbough hit a three with time running down, but Salem held off the comeback and advanced to the final game of the consolation bracket with a 59-49 win over the Mammoth Spring Bears.
Gray led the Hounds with 11 points. Turnbough led all scorers with 15.
Mammoth's next scheduled game against the Greyhounds is Dec. 10, at Salem.