BERGMAN — Two of the top contenders for the 3A-1East matched talents in a standing-room only Panther Palace on Tuesday night between Bergman and Valley Springs.
Both senior contests were one-possession games surrounded by a loud and cheering crowd for both teams.
The night concluded with Valley Springs contesting Bergman’s final shot and dribbling out a long rebound as the clock expired in a 52-51 Tiger win.
Bergman’s Lady Panthers watched a big lead slip away but were able to hang on in the closing minutes for a 46-43 win.
In junior girls action, Bergman ran away with a 46-29 victory.
Bergman led by as many as 11 points in the ballgame, but couldn’t contain a late rally by Valley Springs as the Tigers took just their second lead of the game with 18.1 seconds remaining and held on for a 52-51 road win.
Valley Springs’ standout senior Isaac Ragland scored the final 14 points of the game for the Tigers.
Bergman began the fourth quarter holding a 39-34 lead.
After a Ragland free throw, Bergman’s Asher Fultz drove the lane for a bucket.
Tiger junior Brock Lippe then drained a trey from the right wing followed by a driving Ragland score to get Valley Springs within, 41-40.
Elijah Royce then backed the ball into the post and handed off to Shelton Welsh for a score at the basket followed by another driving score by Fultz on the next possession to give Bergman a 45-40 edge with 4:40 remaining.
Ragland then sank a pair of shots at the free throw line and scored again after teammate Briley Saunier grabbed a defensive rebound and found Ragland in transition for a layup.
Welsh responded with a jumper in the paint.
Ragland then added another two points from the charity stripe.
Royce matched it with an offensive putback on the Bergman end to build a three-point Panther lead, ahead 49-46 with 3:15 left.
Ragland finished a three-point play after attacking the basket on the next possession to tie the game at 49 apiece.
Chance Carter and A.J. Van Lear each sank the front end of a two-shot foul to put the Panthers back ahead, 51-49.
Bergman held the lead as neither team scored over the next 1:28.
With 18.1 seconds remaining, Ragland rebounded his own shot under the basket and wouldn’t be denied the second time as his putback fell through the net to tie the game and the whistle gave him a shot at the line for a three-point play. The senior sank the shot freebie to give Valley Springs their first lead of the game since the 4:31 mark in the first period.
Bergman’s final shot at the win fell short and Ragland retrieved the long rebound and dribbled the ball away from the defense as time expired in a 52-51 Tiger win.
Balanced scoring in the first period with triples from both Fultz and Van Lear along with Royce’s post presence for six points gave Bergman a 16-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
A touch pass from Ragland to teammate Teagan James for a layup cut the Bergman lead to a 23-21 score before the Panthers finished the first half on a 7-0 run.
The run featured Royce scoring in the post and Fultz completing a score and one after a steal and then draining a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Valley Springs came out of halftime trailing by a 30-21 score and outscored Bergman by a 13-9 mark while holding the Panthers to just two field goals.
Carter scored on a give-and-go play after getting a screen away from the ball and retrieving a lob pass from Royce. Welsh then hit a 3 from the left side to go with a pair of Royce and Carter free throws to account for all nine of Bergman’s points.
Valley Springs’ Trell Trammell scored his first field goal of the game to go with a Braydon Carnahan basket and three points from both James and Saunier to end the third quarter.
Ragland led all scorers with 24 points in the Tiger win. Lippe added eight points, Saunier and James five each, Carnahan four and Trammell and Brock Knapp three each.
Fultz scored 14 points to lead Bergman. Royce added 12 points, Welsh and Van Lear nine each and Carter seven.
The rematch will be on Jan. 21 at the Tiger Lair.
Valley Springs won the second half, but couldn’t outscore the damage done by the Lady Panthers in the first two periods as Bergman held on for a 46-43 win.
Bergman took a 39-31 lead into the fourth quarter and a game of runs turned into a game of free throws at the end.
Halle Miller hit a pair of 3s and a putback surrounding a pair of free throws from Bethany Richardson in a 10-0 run by the Lady Tigers to start the final frame and took their first lead of the game since early in the contest.
Bergman responded with a 6-0 run. Karsen Edwards, Maddie Holt and Mahkynlee Baker each sank free throw along with a Holt score off a Kara Ponder assist to give the Lady Panthers a 45-41 lead with 2:11 remaining in the game.
Haylie Fry then pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled. Fry sank both freebies to get the Lady Tigers within, trailing 45-43.
Baker added a free throw to make it a three-point game at the 33.9 mark.
Valley Springs’ final designed play resulted in Bergman’s Holt taking a charge on defense that gave the Lady Panthers back the ball with 6.2 seconds remaining.
Lady Tiger junior Maura Moore was able to pick a steal in the final seconds but the ensuing long shot was off the mark and Bergman went on to take the conference win.
Bergman built a 12-6 lead in the first period behind a 3 by both Ponder and Courtney Menke along with an Edwards bucket.
Richardson scored all six Lady Tiger points in the first.
Moore sank a three and Fry hit a bucket to go with three from Richardson in an eight-point effort before halftime.
Bergman extended the lead with Holt’s eight points and two points from both Elenda Mendez and Ponder.
The Lady Panthers entered halftime with a 24-14 edge.
The pace picked up in the third quarter and Valley Springs outscored Bergman by a 17-15 mark in the period.
Miller sank a 3 following a Richardson bucket.
Bergman responded with scores from Ponder and Edwards and then a step-back Menke 3-pointer from the right wing.
Cayley Patrick led the Valley Springs defensive charge with an interception turned into a layup and then assisted to Miller on the left side for a triple.
Holt scored the next four points for Bergman before Mattie Watkins drained a jumper for the Tigers.
Bergman ended the third on an 8-2 run with Ponder finishing the quarter by hitting a 3 from the top of the key.
Holt scored 16 points along with 13 by Ponder in the Bergman win. Menke added six points, Edwards five and Mendez, Baker and Graddy two apiece.
Richardson finished with 18 points for Valley Springs. Miller added 14 points, Fry four, Moore three and Patrick and Watkins two apiece.
The Junior Lady Panthers began the game by building a lead and withstood a Valley Springs comeback to get a 46-29 home win.
Bergman owned a 13-3 lead after the first six minutes and controlled a 23-10 edge at halftime.
Valley Springs outscored Bergman by an 8-3 mark in the third to get within, trailing 26-18 after three periods.
The Junior Lady Tigers got as close as a 27-24 deficit in the fourth quarter but Bergman began another run to finish on 19-5 run to take the win.
Ruby Trammell scored 12 points to lead Bergman. Madeline Moon added 10 points, Taylor and Madison Huskey six each, Jaxenn Duque and Jalen Burleson five apiece and Daizie Riggs two.
Karyce Flud scored 10 points for Valley Springs. Macy Willis scored six, Eliza Drewry five, Kamryn Miller and Aidan Gorton three and Camie Moore two.