"I am proud of my boys tonight," said Monett coach Ty Goetz. "We showed a lot of heart storming back to force overtime. We used a lot of energy to get back into the game and didn't quite have enough left in the tank to get over the hump."
Cassville jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before a trio of treys, two by Jacob Fair and one by Jarred Witt, propelled the Cubs to a 13-9 advantage after the first quarter.
Cassville struck back in the second period with a 13-3 run spearheaded by 6 points from Ricky Nichols and 5 from Joel Maher, and the Wildcats led 22-20 at intermission.
Behind baskets by Nichols, Logan Scott and Maher, Cassville swelled a two-point halftime lead to a 28-20 advantage in the third period. Cassville finished the frame with a 6-0 run to take a comfortable 38-25 lead into the final period.
The Cubs woke up from hibernation and began to solve the Wildcats' defensive riddle.
A basket by Tyler Green, a 3-pointer by Witt and two buckets and a three-point play by Kyle Woods slashed the Wildcats' 13-point cushion down to two points at 39-37 with 3:40 left in the fourth. The flurry of scoring forced a Cassville timeout.
The Wildcats returned from the timeout rejuvenated and whipped up an 8-0 run with 6 points from Trey Rose and a basket by Nichols. Cassville looked to be headed for an easy win, leading 47-37 with 55.6 seconds left in the game.
Monett wouldn't go quietly. Woods scored 4 quick points as Cassville shooters struggled to find the right touch from the charity stripe. The Wildcats connected on only 56 percent (14 of 25) of their free-throw attempts for the game.
Three-pointers by Witt and Travis Thompson helped cut the Cassville lead to 49-48 with 17 seconds left in regulation play.
Maher was quickly fouled and buried two charity attempts to help the Wildcats establish a 51-48 lead with 16.4 seconds remaining.
Monett then inbounded the ball and worked it across the time line. Woods shook free and buried an open look from the top of the key with four seconds left to force overtime.
The Cubs managed 25 points in the first 24 minutes of regulation and outscored Cassville 26-13 in the final period.
In the extra session, each team traded buckets to open. Woods gave Monett a brief 55-54 lead with 1:56 to play but a basket by Maher put Cassville in the lead for good. Monett had a chance to tie the game with eight seconds left but the attempt came up short.
Scoring for Monett were: Woods, 23; Witt, 11; Green and Fair, 9 each; Thompson, 3; and Tyler Webb, 1.
Scoring for Cassville were: Nichols, 22; Maher, 16; Rose, 12; Logan Scott, 4; and Garrett Kirk, and John Cavness, 3 each.
Monett hosts East Newton on Friday night for its last home game of the season. Seniors Travis Thompson, Jacob Fair, Tyler Webb, Tyler Green, Jarred Witt and Dillon Freudenthal will be honored before the start of the varsity game. Tipoff for the jayvee contest is set for 6 p.m.