A little blood, a lot of sweat and a few tears -- The Dawg Pound had it all Saturday night.
And the Arkansas City High School boys basketball team can start packing.
The Bulldogs overcame an 11-point deficit, then took a big enough of a lead to celebrate the final seconds of their 63-50 victory against Coffeyville for the Class 4A D-I Sub-state championship.
Ark City is expected to open play Thursday at the KSHSAA Class 4A D-I State Tournament in Salina. It is Ark City's first appearance at a State basketball tourney since 2001.
The Lady Bulldogs fell one victory short of a State berth, falling to Wellington 46-33 in the girls sub-state title game.
Coffeyville buried 7 of 7 shots from 3-point range -- many from NBA range -- in the first quarter and led 26-15 before ACHS senior Nate Spencer banged in a 3-pointer from near midcourt at the buzzer.
Junior Cevin Clark sank a 3-pointer from the right wing with 4:42 left in the first half and Jaylen Logan followed with a miss from the top of the key 18 seconds later for the first miss from beyond the arc by the Tornado.
Senior Hunter O'Toole banged in a trey from the right corner with 42 seconds left in the half to narrow the deficit to three. Ark City settled for a still-manageable 36-31 deficit at the break.
After hitting 59.1 percent from the floor in the first half, the Golden Tornado went cold out of the intermission.
The third quarter was all Ark City.
While holding Coffeyville to 25-percent shooting (3 of 12) from the floor, the Bulldogs connected on 58.3 percent (7 of 12) in the third period.
O'Toole sank a one-handed baseline runner with 2:34 left in the quarter for Ark City's first lead since 2-0. By the time senior Cooper Pierce stripped the ball at halfcourt and fed a streaking AJ Wilson for a layup with 24 seconds left in the period, the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on an 11-0 run to take a 46-40 lead.
Cedric Kelley hit a trey from the left corner to start the fourth quarter tied 46-46, but Clark sparked an 8-0 run with a baseline runner. By the time O'Toole took one to the hole to cap what became a 12-1 run, the Ark City faithful sensed victory.
Fans streamed onto the court in celebration when the buzzer -- for what must have seemed like eternity for the Bulldogs -- finally sounded.
Clark finished with 19 points, senior Jordan Wilson added a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, and O'Toole chipped in 13 points off the bench for the Bulldogs, the only player on either team to score off the bench.
Kelley led the Golden Tornado with 15 points.
The end of the girls game marked the final time in Lady Bulldogs uniforms for seniors Destiny Stewart, Chassidy Weathers and Halie Brown. Seniors Allison Smith and Erika Hoag missed most of the season with injuries.
Despite losing two starters to injury, first-year head coach Brett Gunderson has much to look forward to after turning around a program that saw a steady rotation of head coaches in recent years.
For complete coverage of the Class 4A D-I Sub-state Tournament, don't miss Tuesday's CourierTraveler.