The Viola Longhorns took another step toward their ultimate goal of winning a state championship on Jan. 12, by winning the 39th annual NACC invitational tournament.
Along the way, the second-seed Longhorns knocked off Mt. Judea by 40 points.
In the second round, Viola took advantage of 28 points by senior Austin Gardner to beat Deer 58-50. Senior Quintin Houghtaling added 12, and Austin Baltzell had 10 points.
The Horns had a tough test in the third round against the class 3A Riverview Raiders, coached by former Mammoth Spring head man Jeremy Cude. When the final buzzer sounded, it was Viola who moved on to the championship round.
The Horns faced off with the unlikely eighth seed in the finals. The Flippin Bobcats who entered the tournament at 11-13 were all that stood between the Horns and a championship. The Cats had already proved they belonged by beating top-seeded Jasper (18-3 before the tournament) in the second round.
After four quarters, the Longhorns headed back to Viola with something shiny for the school's trophy case and the title of NACC senior boys invitational tournament champions.
The Horns now stand with a record of 22-4 and face off with the Izard County Cougars on Jan. 18. The Horns beat ICC in Viola on Dec. 14.