Houston sophomore Aaron Cantrell puts up a second-half shot against Salem.

The Houston Tigers are still looking for their first winning streak of the season.

Four days after topping Hartville for their third victory of the season, the Tigers struggled with Salem’s length and athleticism in a lopsided 85-62 loss Tuesday inside Hiett Gymnasium.

Houston, which snapped a four-game losing skid with the 72-67 victory against Hartville, has yet to win consecutive games this season. The Tigers fell to 3-12 under first-year coach Tom Brown.

Brown said his team needed to become more consistent offensively. Houston is averaging 79.7 points in its three wins compared to 57.8 points in 12 losses.

“We’ve got to shoot better,” Brown said. “We’re still not shooting where my teams normally shoot.”

Brown said he has been opening the gym at 6:45 a.m. daily for his players to get extra shooting work. He said he has been disappointed by the lack of participation.

“I only have three or four high school kids and about eight junior high,” he said. “They’ve got to come in and shoot if we’re going to get there.”

Curry Van Horn hit three of the Tigers’ four 3-pointers en route to a team-best 20 points in Tuesday’s loss. Rodney Preheim scored 12 points and Devin Coulter added 11.

Houston only trailed by three points at the end of the first quarter and pulled within 27-26 midway through the second on a Van Horn triple. But Salem scored 12 straight points to begin quickly pulling away.

Salem, which improved to 9-11 to top last year’s win total, got a majority of its points around the rim early and began hitting perimeter shots in the third quarter to stretch a 14-point halftime advantage to 20 points.

“Honestly, Salem just hit everything,” Brown said. “It wasn’t like we played extremely bad, they just hit a lot of good shots.”

Salem’s offensive production overshadowed what was a solid effort from Houston, which fell behind by double digits despite scoring 19 second-quarter points.

“We shot probably our second-best percentage from the field tonight,” Brown said. “You can’t tell it by looking at the scoreboard.”

On Friday, Van Horn went 17-of-18 at the foul line — capped by a pair in the final seconds to complete a 72-67 victory against Hartville inside Hiett Gymnasium.

Van Horn also hit three 3-pointers as part of his game-high 28 points. Preheim added 16 points and senior Colten Huff scored a career-best nine points off the bench.

Hartville, which got 22 points from Shade Piper and 20 from Seth Hensley, won the consolation title at the Blue and Gold Tournament in Springfield his season.

“We beat a very good team,” Brown said. “They are a solid team.”

JUNIOR VARSITY: Tanner Cantrell scored a team-best 16 points in the JV Tigers’ 56-45 loss Tuesday to Salem.

Tanner Smith added eight points for Houston, which trailed by three at the half.

On Friday, Devin Garrett led the Tigers with 11 points in a 56-30 home loss to Hartville.

Kolby Walker had seven points for Houston, which was behind by two points at the half. Hartville had a 34-10 edge in the second half.

Box scores


Tuesday’s game

Salem 85, Houston 62

HOUSTON (62) — Curry Van Horn 20. Aaron Cantrell 9. Jacob Hall 2. Devin Coulter 11. Colten Huff 2. Weston Walker 4. Rodney Preheim 12. Jacob Kelley 2. FG 23. FT 12-18. F 13. (3-pointers: Van Horn 3, Coulter. Fouled out: none).

Friday’s game

Hartville       14   15   20   21   –    67
Houston   15   16   18   23   –   72

HARTVILLE (67) — Hunter Simmons 2. Zach Keith 2. Justin Dedmon 5. Shade Piper 22. Dakota Glenn 10. Seth Hensley 20. FG 24. FT 18-28. F 23. (3-pointers: Piper. Fouled out: Piper).

HOUSTON (72) — Curry Van Horn 28. Aaron Cantrell 7. Devin Coulter 2. Colten Huff 9 Weston Walker 3. Rodney Preheim 16. Jacob Kelley 7. FG 22. FT 23-30. F 21. (3-pointers: Van Horn 3, Cantrell, Kelley. Fouled out: Preheim).


Tuesday’s game

Salem     9   13   15   19   –    56
Houston      8   12   11   14   –   45

HOUSTON (45) — Gabe Pruitt 5. Tanner Smith 8. Devin Garrett 4. Jason Wink 6. Tanner Cantrell 16. Kolby Walker 6. FG 20. FT 3-9. F 9. (3-pointers: Pruitt, Smith. Fouled out: none).

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