With the game in doubt, the Cassville defense rose up and held the Tigers in check in the pivotal 17-5 final stanza.
Trenton Dickinson's club raced to an 11-point lead in the first period and led 21-13 at the first break. Chris Smith buried two treys, and Axl Larson scored 8 early points as the Wildcats left Hollister in the starting blocks.
But Chris Kennedy's teams don't fold easily. The veteran coach with Barry County roots made some subtle changes between quarters, and Hollister crept back into the game. The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 20-15 in the second quarter, dropping in seven free throws, and cut the lead to 36-33 at halftime.
Hollister also captured a low-scoring third quarter, even managing a 45-45 tie before Trey Rose gave Cassville the lead back at 47-45 at the final break. The Tigers limited their turnovers and solved the Wildcat press for several easy baskets.
The fourth quarter was all Cassville. Larson fed Evan Stubblefield for a layup off the glass and a 49-45 lead. Larson then spun for a layup, and Rose converted after a steal and halfcourt drive. Hollister called for time with the score at 53-45.
Rose picked up a loose ball and scored on another half court adventure, topped seconds later by a Ricky Nichols' coast-to-coast highlight reel. The Larson-to-Stubblefield connection produced another bucket, and Cassville's lead ballooned to 59-45 with just 4:45 to play.
Cassville executed the delay game effectively, and Josh Lewright scored the game's final points to produce the 64-50 score.
Cassville scorers: Chris Smith, 16; Axl Larson, 12; Evan Stubblefield, 11; Josh Lewright, 11; Trey Rose, 6; Jordan Bailey, 2; Joel Maher, 2; John Cavness, 2; and Ricky Nichols, 2.
Hollister scorers: Austin Ballard, 21; Seth Haynes, 8; Seth Martin, 8; Kyle David, 6; Will Beers, 4; and Tyler Boyne, 3.