The Houston Tigers’ victory last Tuesday at Ava was the team’s best of the season. Three days later, the team was a no-show in a humbling loss at Willow Springs that coach Brent Hall labeled “embarrassing.”
It’s been that type of year for the Tigers, who have taken two giant steps backwards just when they seem to be rolling in the right direction.
A microcosm of Houston’s up-and-down season played out last week when the Tigers won at Ava, then laid an egg in a 63-38 loss to Willow Springs.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride this year – way up and way down, back and forth,” Hall said. “One thing that’s still out there is a district title.”
Houston (11-14) is seeded third in next week’s Class 3 District 10 tournament at Cabool. The Tigers face the Bears at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the opening round.
Hall hopes his team was humbled by the 25-point drubbing the Bears handed them. They had a team meeting Monday, then got some positive momentum with a 20-point victory Tuesday against Seymour.
“It was the most embarrassed I’ve been in a long time,” Hall said of the Willow Springs loss. “There’s not a better way to clean the slate on a 25-point loss than to come back and beat them in districts.”
It’s been the same topsy-turvy season for the Lady Tigers, who are also seeded third in their respective bracket. But they enter the postseason on a high.
One night after senior Kendra Welch banked in a halfcourt heave to knock off state-ranked Laquey, teammate Danielle Pounds banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Lady Tigers’ second consecutive last-second victory.
“We’re on a little roll,” HHS girls coach Brent Kell said. “The Laquey win was one of the better ones we’ve had in the last few years.”
The Lady Tigers face sixth-seeded Alton at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The teams have not played this season.
Looming in the second round is Licking, which squeaked out a 49-46 victory against the Lady Tigers in mid-December.
Houston (12-13) snapped a four-game losing skid with this week’s consecutive buzzer-beating victories.
“What we’ve done to this point – it hasn’t been a great season – we can turn this thing into a great season,” Kell said.
Hall feels the same way about his Tigers, who face Stoutland tonight (Thursday) in their regular-season finale. He said one of the team’s keys in the postseason is steady play from forward Ty Scheets, who had a season-high 23 points Tuesday against Seymour.
Scheets can provide Houston a nice 1-2 scoring punch with junior Kyle Poynter, who is averaging 26.6 points per game.
“I have a lot of faith in Ty. Sometimes I have more faith in Ty than Ty has in himself,” Hall said. “What he did (Tuesday night), I believe he can do every game. I challenge him to do that.”
Hall said he gathered his team Monday for a meeting to get things back on track. He ended the session by pointing to the board inside Hiett Gymnasium that marks the Tigers’ last district title: 1984.
“That’s a long time,” Hall said. “We can make history. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”