CABOOL –– The Houston Lady Tigers couldn’t figure out a way to beat Willow Springs.
HHS lost to the Lady Bears for the third time of the season Saturday –– this time a 35-24 defeat in the opening round of the Class 3 District 2 Tournament.
The Lady Tigers nearly got it done in the third matchup. They held a 14-13 lead in an offensively-challenged district opener before Willow Springs pulled away with a 22-10 advantage in the second half.
“I told the girls after the game, ‘You can go watch this film, but I guarantee you we outplayed them everywhere but the scoreboard,’” Lady Tigers coach Brent Kell said. “We lost because we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Freshman Kylee Elmore led Houston with eight points. Alexa Ichord added six.
Willow Springs’ Kyndall Bunch scored 12 points as the lone player in double figures. Alexis Privette and Kyra Bunch added eight apiece for the Lady Bears (21-5), who advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals against Ava (19-6). The other semifinal features top-seeded Seymour (26-0) against Licking (17-8).
Houston’s point total was the second-lowest of the season. The Lady Tigers were held to 22 points in a Jan. 28 loss to Willow Springs in the finals of the Mansfield Tournament.
Houston managed just nine field goals and was 3-for-7 at the free-throw line.
“We had good shots, and it’s nobody’s fault,” Kell said. “We shot the ball so well in practice last week. I was actually thinking we could get all the way to the finals. We were playing that well in practice.”
Houston didn’t get its first points until Elmore drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key 6 minutes, 32 seconds into the first quarter.
Despite the slow start, the Lady Tigers led 7-6 after Emilee Reese banked in a jumper with four seconds left in the first quarter.
HHS still led 16-15 midway through the third before a quick 6-0 run gave Willow Springs a lead it never relinquished.
Despite a sub-.500 record, Kell said he enjoyed the 2011-’12 season.
“I talk to a bunch of coaches who can’t wait for the season to be over because their kids are nightmares to coach,” he said. “You always want to have a better record and keep playing, but I thought the kids played hard for the most part and held their own. And we just have really good kids.”
CLASS 3 DISTRICT 2
at Cabool High School
Alton 64, Cabool 36
Licking 66, Liberty 45
Willow Springs 35, Houston 24
Ava 65, Mountain Grove 56
Seymour 71, Alton 40
Seymour 64, Licking 53
Willow Springs 50, Ava 41
Seymour (27-0) vs. Willow Springs (22-5), 7 p.m.
HOUSTON (24) –– Alexa Ichord 6. Kylee Elmore 8. Kenzie Scheets 3. Haylee Kell 3. Emilee Reese 2. Elizabeth Hayes 2. FG 9. FT 3-7. F 17. (3-pointers: Elmore, Scheets, Kell. Fouled out: none).
WILLOW SPRINGS (35) –– Kamryn Hutsell 3. Alexis Privette 8. Natasha Burtchett 4. Kyra Bunch 8. Kyndall Bunch 12. FG 10. FT 14-16. F 16. (3-pointers: Hutsell. Fouled out: none).