In the boys game, Wayne Joe Sooter hit a 3-pointer from just inside half court as the buzzer sounded to lift the Eagles to an exciting 56-55 victory.
"We had a play drawn up to two players," said Pierce City coach Matt Street. "Sarcoxie did a good job taking away both options. Wayne Joe used a double screen and put up a tough shot that went through the hoop."
Sarcoxie carried its hot streak into the second period. Justin Meyers scored 8 points in the second quarter and gave the Bears their first lead at 20-18 with two minutes remaining in the first half. Sarcoxie outscored Pierce City 19-15 in the second period to lead 26-24 at intermission.
The third period proved disastrous for the Eagles. Sarcoxie scored inside at will, and Pierce City missed several point-blank shots. Sarcoxie twice opened up leads of 12 points and held a 41-31 advantage to begin play in the fourth quarter.
"The third period has been a problem for us all season long," said Street. "We tend to come out of the locker room flat. Tonight, it nearly cost us the game."
With 5:35 left in the final period, the Bears still held a sizeable 45-35 edge. Not wanting to lose, Sooter put the team on his shoulders.
In 36 seconds, Sooter drilled two treys and scored off a steal to provide an instant 8-0 run to whittle a 10-point Sarcoxie advantage to a manageable two-point deficit 45-43. Like two prize fighters trading blows in the final round of a title fight, the Eagles and Bears traded baskets over the next four minutes.
Sooter tied the game at 53-53 with 45 ticks left only to see Sarcoxie's Jesse Jones fouled. Jones hit two free throws with 19.2 seconds left in the game.
Pierce City inbounded the ball and quickly ran into the front court. A missed shot in the corner sent a flurry of bodies from both teams diving to the ground after the loose ball. The Eagles' Colin Garner won the battle to the ball as Coach Street emphatically called timeout with 2.3 seconds left to set up one last play.
Sooter curled around two Eagles' players to take the inbounds pass at half court and had his drive cut off. He quickly pulled up from 40-feet out, and the ball found nothing but twine as it passed through the rim.
"I knew I had to shoot it," said Sooter. "It took the team to win tonight. I was just lucky enough to hits a few shots along the way. I didn't want to lose tonight, and I just tried to do everything I could to help the team."
Sooter scored 19 points in the final eight minutes of the game.
Meyers led the Bears in scoring with 22 points. Jones added 14.
"This was a big win for us," said Street. "It showed our young guys that we can come back even if we are down double digits in the fourth quarter."
Scoring for Pierce City were: Sooter, 27; Zack Hyde, 10; Cody Fitchpatrick, 7; Kole Kelley and Garner, 4 each; and Ryan Turner and Ian Brottlund, 2 apiece.
Pierce City girls
The Pierce City Lady Eagles picked up a 65-30 victory in the first game of the evening.
The Lady Eagles scored the game's first 24 points and never looked back. Pierce City led 26-4 at the end of the first period and 46-16 at halftime.
"We played with focus and energy tonight," said Pierce City coach Tiffany Dirks. "The girls wanted to come out and make a statement after playing poorly on Saturday, and I believe they did."
Jacqualine Plybon led Sarcoxie in scoring with 19 points.
Scoring for the Lady Eagles were: Krishna Merriman and Megan Golubski, 17 each; Kaelyn Osborn, 15 points; Christine Younker, 8; Emily Ashley, 2; and Bailee Hayward, 1.
The Lady Eagles travel to Jasper on Thursday night.
The Pierce City boys will be at Jasper on Friday. Both games are slated to tipoff at 6 p.m.