Houston sophomore Kolby Walker shoots between a pair of Alton defenders in the first half of Monday's game.

This is a loss Houston Tigers coach Richard Rose said he can live with.

Rose said he was encouraged by the fact that despite his team’s many mistakes, they hung tough Monday night with Alton. Minus a three-minute hiccup to begin the second quarter, the Tigers played with –– and out-played at times –– the Comets in a 66-57 loss inside Hiett Gymnasium.

“There are a lot of easily fixable things that happened that were the difference in the game,” Rose said. “Even with the missed layups and turnovers, we were still right there in the end. That team beat the team (Liberty) that our district will go through. That fact that we’re competing now and have so much room to improve, I was very encouraged.”

Now seven games into his first season at HHS, Rose said he is pleased with the team’s improvement entering the Christmas break. The Tigers (2-5) have eight days between games before competing in the annual Cabool Holiday Tournament on Wednesday.

Houston, which received the 12th seed, plays No. 5 Winona at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“If you told me we’d be where we’re at right now, I wouldn’t be completely upset. We’ve come a long way,” Rose said. “I like how we’re defending. I like the effort on the defensive end. Even when we make mistakes, we’re going hard and trying. That’s a big step up from where we started.”

Junior Devin Coulter scored 22 of his team-best 28 points in the second half to lead HHS. Weston Walker added 14 points and Aaron Cantrell had nine.

After falling behind 12-5 early, the Tigers responded with a 9-2 run to pull even. Kolby Walker had a pair of free throws and basket, Coulter converted and layin and Cantrell buried a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the quarter to make it 14-all.

Alton responded by scoring 13 unanswered points during a 3 minute, 12 second stretch to begin the second quarter and led the rest of the way.

Houston got as close as six points on Coulter’s triple with 5:41 left.

The Tigers outscored Alton 43-39 after falling behind in the second quarter.

“I don’t want to say this was a victory because we lost the game,” Rose said. “But just like when we beat Stoutland and didn’t feel too great about it, I feel a million times better about this loss than I did about that win.”

On Friday, Plato used a 16-8 edge in the second quarter en route to a 50-40 victory over the Tigers. Coulter led HHS with 13 points.

JUNIOR VARSITY: Freshman Skylur Malam scored 25 points in the JV Tigers’ 58-40 loss Monday to Alton. Dylan Coulter added 10.

On Friday, Kobe Sutton had 21 points in Houston’s 61-42 loss at Plato. Coulter had nine points.

Box scores

VARSITY

Tuesday’s game

Alton         14    20    16    16    –    66 
Houston      14   10   16   14   –    57

HOUSTON (57) –– Devin Coulter 28. Aaron Cantrell 9. Weston Walker 14. Kolby Walker 5. Keegan Spurlin 1. FG 19. FT 13-16. F 17. (3-pointers: Coulter 3, WWalker 2, Cantrell. Fouled out: WWalker).

Friday’s game

Houston       11    8    11    10    –    40 
Plato   9   16   13   13   –   50

HOUSTON (40) –– Devin Coulter 13. Aaron Cantrell 9. Kolby Walker 7. Weston Walker 9. Tanner Smith 4. Nathan Poynter 2. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none).

JUNIOR VARSITY

Monday’s game

Alton         17    15    15    11    –    58 
Houston   7   13   6   14   –   40

HOUSTON (40) –– Tyler Best 3. Dylan Coulter 10. Skylur Malam 25. Keegan Spurlin 2. FG 12. FT 14-23. F 13. (3-pointers: Best, Coulter. Fouled out: none).

Friday’s game

Houston       15    8    15    14    –    52 
Plato   19   12   21   9   –   61

HOUSTON (52) –– Tyler Best 7. Dylan Coulter 9. Alex Henry 6. Skylur Malam 2. Caleb Adkison 4. Kobe Sutton 21. FG 15. FT 13-31. F 12. (3-pointers: Sutton 4, Henry 2. Fouled out: Adkison).

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