Led by a 21-point performance by senior Garrett Kirk, the Cassville Wildcats claimed a 63-59 victory over Blue Eye in their home opener on Dec. 4.
The Wildcats lost a 10-point lead and trailed by 3 points in the third quarter.
A fourth quarter surge saw Cassville regain a 7-point advantage. The Bulldogs pulled within a deuce in the final minute before the Wildcats clinched the win at the free throw line.
Blue Eye led the game early, but Cole Beagle's mid-range jumper gave Cassville a 5-4 lead at the 5:45 mark of the opening period.
Christian Mitchell regained the lead for the Bulldogs, but Ethan Lowery converted twice from the free throw line and Jordan Shore knocked down a jumper and added a layup on a snowbird fast break to open an 11-7 advantage for Cassville.
Blue Eye pulled within 14-12, but the Wildcats scored the final two baskets of the quarter and led 18-12 at the first break.
Lowery and Kirk tallied to start the second quarter, and Cassville claimed a 22-12 lead. Mitchell rained a long trey from the right wing and then sank a pair of free throws to fuel a Bulldog comeback that reduced the lead to 26-22. But Kirk scored with an offensive board and Lowery powered to the rim to give the Wildcats a 30-22 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs stormed out of the locker room and tied the game with a blistering 8-0 run. Then Tyler Horn threw in a bomb from the left corner to give Blue Eye a 33-30 lead.
With Cassville trailing 35-34, Kirk took over the game. He drove the lane and scored then collected the bonus after being fouled.
On Blue Eye's next possession, Kirk came up with a loose ball and raced coast to coast for another old-fashioned 3-point play, and the Wildcats took a 40-35 lead.
Although the Bulldogs would pull within a deuce twice in an exciting fourth quarter, the visitors would not lead again in the game, and Cassville held on for the 63-59 win.
Scoring for Cassville: Kirk, 21 points; Lowery, 19; Ty Craig, 14; Shore, 4; Beagle, 3; and Logan Scott, 2.
Scoring for Blue Eye: Mitchell, 21 points; Dillon Mooney, 12; Jonathan Luecke, 10; Toby Reagan, 8; Tyler Horn, 5; and Jason Redford, 3.