CABOOL – A missed rebound cost the Houston Tigers a chance to earn a second victory.
But coach Tom Brown was quick to point out the same mistake happened more than once through the course of a tight game.
Sparta’s Josh Swindle grabbed the second of two missed free throws and scored with 38 seconds remaining to lift the Trojans past Houston 65-63 Tuesday in the consolation bracket of the Cabool Holiday Tournament.
Swindle’s putback — breaking a 63-all tie and providing the game-winning points — was a critical moment in the game. It wasn’t the only time the Tigers were burnt by an offensive rebound, though.
“That hurt,” Brown said. “But we can’t point our finger at one play because it happened in the first quarter and three times in the third quarter. They are all just as important.”
Houston, which lost Monday’s tournament opener 92-77 to Eminence, still had an opportunity to tie or win the game in the waning moments.
Brown called a timeout with 13 seconds left — and the Tigers trailing by two points — and instructed his team to take a shot with around eight seconds remaining. If the shot missed, he said, Houston would have an opportunity to get the rebound.
Instead, the ball moved around the perimeter before Weston Walker was forced to take an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner with just seconds remaining. The shot missed as time expired.
“It looked like to me that nobody wanted to step up and take the shot,” Brown said.
Senior Rodney Preheim led the Tigers with 21 points before fouling out. Devin Coulter hit three of the team’s five 3-pointers en route to 15 points.
The Tigers (1-7) led 51-44 following a triple from Coulter and Preheim offensive putback with 6 minutes, 16 seconds remaining. Sparta responded with a quick 10-2 run to take a one-point lead and set up an exciting finish.
Houston three times erased deficits with clutch shots down the stretch. Coulter drained a 3-pointer to make it 58-all and Walker and Curry Van Horn both went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line with the Tigers trailing by two points.
It was tied at 63 when Preheim was called for his fifth foul with 40 seconds remaining. Sparta’s Jacob Shipman missed both free throws, but Swindle was able to grab the second miss and score what proved to be the game-winning points.
Brown consistently yells for his players to “believe” and “have confidence” from the sidelines. Houston’s final possession was one of many that indicate the players do not fully trust themselves, Brown said.
“It just takes one bit of hesitation and your shot isn’t going to go,” he said. “You’ve got to have confidence. It’s got to be in your thought process the entire time.”
On Monday, Van Horn led four players in double figures with 24 points in a loss to Eminence. Also reaching double digits were Prehiem (19), Walker (16) and Coulter (10).
Brown, who arrived in Houston just prior to the start of the season, hopes his team’s early growing pains will lead to success in the second half of the season.
“The book is closed on 2011,” he said. “We’re looking forward to 2012. We’re still undefeated in conference and have districts. Our goal is to work our tails off and make 2012 a successful year.”
HOUSTON (63) — Curry Van Horn 8. Aaron Cantrell 8. Devin Coulter 15. Weston Walker 5. Clay Ashworth 2. Rodney Preheim 21. Jacob Kelley 4. FG 24. FT 10-13. F 21. (3-pointers: Coulter 3, Van Horn, Walker. Fouled out: Preheim).
SPARTA (65) — Kyle Lafferty 3. Jacob Shipman 10. Josh Jenkins 14. Zack Pellham 2. Robert May 23. Jacob Watts 7. Josh Swindle 6. FG 25. FT 13-25. F 13. (3-pointers: Lafferty, Jenkins Fouled out: none).
HOUSTON (77) — Curry Van Horn 24. Aaron Cantrell 4. Devin Coulter 10. Weston Walker 16. Rodney Preheim 19. Jacob Kelley 2. Kolby Walker 2. FG 25. FT 20-26. F 23. (3-pointers: Van Horn 3, Coulter 2, Walker 2. Fouled out: Coulter, Preheim).
EMINENCE (92) — Jesse Lacey 19. Andrew Edwards 4. Cole Keeling 14. Logan Dyer 20. Hunter Adams 22. Allan Brewer 6. Powell Dix 2. James Ennis 4. FG 35. FT 18-30. F 22. (3-pointers: Lacey 3, Adams. Fouled out: Brewer, Ennis).
The book is closed on 2011. …Our goal is to work our tails offand make 2012 a successful year.”