WEST PLAINS -- Thanks in part to a 10-0 run at the end of the third quarter, Bell City's Cubs have advanced to the Class 1A final four for just the second time.
The Cubs (27-5) wiped out a six-point halftime deficit and defeated Crocker (25-6) 83-76 in a quarterfinal game at the West Plains Civic Center on Saturday.
Bell City, which finished third in the state in 1981, will play Stewartsville (27-3) at 12:25 p.m. Friday in the semifinals in Columbia, Mo.
"It's an unbelievable feeling and I'm so proud and happy for these kids," Bell City coach David Heeb said. "No team from our area has made it past this game since 1996 and they really deserve it."
C.J. Hadley paced the Cubs with 23 points. Dominitrix Johnson had 20, Eric Henry 13 and Jason Rampley 12. Rampley's points all came on four 3-point baskets.
Henry, the Cubs' leading scorer at 20.5 points per game, missed much of the contest with foul trouble. Chad Johnson led four Lions in double figures with 18 points.
Bell City scored the game's first four points but trailed most of the opening half. The Lions led 15-12 after one quarter and 40-34 at halftime.
The Cubs still trailed 43-36 early in the third quarter when they began to make a move, pulling ahead 45-43 on a Johnson basket.
Crocker was able to regain the lead at 47-45. A Hadley 3-pointer put Bell City back on top 48-47. The squads were tied 51-51 late in the third period when the Cubs used their 10-0 run to take control.
Hadley hit one of two free throws to put Bell City up 52-51. Hadley got a basket, Rampley nailed a 3-pointer, Hadley scored on a tip-in and Johnson made two free throws with four seconds left to give the Cubs a 61-51 halftime lead as they outscored the Lions 27-16 in the period.
Bell City's biggest advantage was 68-55 early in the fourth quarter. Crocker rallied to within 73-69, but the Cubs were able to ice the victory from the free-throw line.