Forget red and black. For one night, the choice of color for fans inside Hiett Gymnasium was pink.
Raising awareness for cancer, the Lady Tigers hosted a “Pink Out Night” at Monday’s game against Hartville. Funds raised from the event — which included pink cupcakes and cotton candy, contests and specially-designed T-shirts — benefited Relay for Life.
“We sold a little over 400 T-shirts,” HHS coach Brent Kell said, “and I’d say most of them were here tonight.”
Supported by a pink-clad crowd, the Lady Tigers — who themselves sported pink headbands, wristbands and shoelaces — held Hartville scoreless the first 7 minutes, 21 seconds of the third quarter to erase an eight-point halftime deficit.
Houston won 40-35. But the focus of the night was the fight against cancer.
“You can’t put into words the reason for the cause. It’s a terrible disease,” Kell said. “If we continue to support the cause and more money is poured into it, I think we’ll eventually find a cure. Hopefully.”
Junior Alexa Ichord led Houston (7-12) with 15 points as the lone player in double figures. Freshman Kylee Elmore hit both of the Lady Tigers’ 3-pointers and scored seven points.
Trailing 18-10 at the half, Kell switched to fullcourt pressure for the first time in six games. The team dropped back into zone defense in the halfcourt.
Kell made the changes after he said his players were fatigued from playing man-to-man defense in the first half.
“The girls at halftime were like, ‘Man, I feel beat up.’ I knew what they were talking about,” Kell said. “They were wearing us out. They’d pass it 15 or 20 times, and we were running through pick after pick. When you go through that many picks, it wears you out.”
The “pink out” was the brainchild of seniors Haylee Kell and Elizabeth Hayes. They approached coach Kell about the idea, and he quickly approved.
There were shooting contests throughout the night for the opportunity to win gift certificates. There were also raffles and drawings. At halftime of the varsity game, children, teenagers and adults participated in a “proudest pink person contest.”
“I thought it was really neat,” Brent Kell said. “I liked seeing these young kids getting involved — little bitty ones even dressing up. As long as they understand that it’s serious, maybe they can do something about it one day when they get older.”
Most fans at least wore the special “pink out” T-shirt. Many took it to further extremes. The student section was decked out with teenagers dressed head to toe in pink.
Kell credited the crowed enthusiasm and participation with helping his team rally to its seventh win of the season.
“It’s one of the best crowds we’ve probably had since I’ve been coaching here,” Kell said. “I thought the student section was excellent.”
On Thursday, Elmore had a game-high 14 points in a 49-34 loss at Mountain View-Liberty. Ichord added six points for the Lady Tigers, who trailed by five at the half before they were outscored 17-10 in the third quarter.
The loss dropped HHS to 1-4 in South Central Association play.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Olivia Woosley hit the go-ahead jumper 39 seconds into the second overtime as the JV Lady Tigers outlasted Hartville 41-38 Monday.
Nora Dixon made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left in double-overtime to cap the victory. Sierra Weaver scored a team-best 16 points.
On Thursday, Kaylea Preheim had six points in a 45-26 loss at Mountain View-Liberty.
HARTVILLE (35) — Kinzi Divine 9. Rilee Hardcastle 2. KelseyOken 1. Emmaly Duke 6. Jerrica Horn 4. Meagan O’Dell 4. LakenMcDaris 9. FG 8. FT 16-23. F 17. (3-pointers: Divine 2, O’Dell.Fouled out: none).
HOUSTON (4 0) — Alexa Ichord 15. Kylee Elmore 7. Kenzie Scheets1. Amber Sillyman 6. Haylee Kell 1. Kayla Herndon 2. Emilee Reese3. Elizabeth Hayes 5. FG 14. FT 10-20. F 19. (3-pointers: Elmore 2.Fouled out: Sillyman, Hayes).
HOUSTON (34) — Alexa Ichord 6. Kylee Elmore 14. Amber Sillyman3. Kayla Herndon 5. Emilee Reese 4. Elizabeth Hayes 2. FG 14. FT3-4. F 14. (3-pointers: Elmore 2, Sillyman. Fouled out: none).
MV-LIBERTY (49) — Acklin 12. Walkup 4. Day 6. Noble 2. Caldwell4. Pruett 5. Conway 1. Ledgenwood 13. Cornman 2. FG 16. FT 11-13. F14. (3-pointers: Acklin 3, Day 2, Pruett. Fouled out: none).
HOUSTON (41) — Maggie Shelton 4. Sierra Weaver 16. MaddieVandiver 8. Olivia Woosley 4. Kaylea Preheim 5. Nora Dixon 2. MeganSilveus 2. FG 17. FT 6-15. F 18. (3-pointers: Weaver. Fouled out:none).
HOUSTON (26) — Maggie Shelton 1. Sierra Weaver 3. MaddieVandiver 5. Olivia Woosley 2. Kayla Guynn 6. Kaylea Preheim 6.Megan Silveus 3. FG 7. FT 12-37. F 16. (3-pointers: none. Fouledout: Vandiver).