Houston junior Kolby Walker puts up a shot in the second half of Tuesday's season opener against Cuba.

An early deficit against a state-ranked opponent was too much for the Houston Tigers to overcome in their season opener.

Cuba blitzed HHS with its fullcourt pressure and raced ahead 15-0 less than two minutes into Tuesday night’s game. The Wildcats were never threatened the rest of the way as they cruised past Houston 68-42 inside Hiett Gymnasium.

Senior Aaron Cantrell had 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Tigers (0-1). Devin Coulter added nine points and junior Kolby Walker had 11 rebounds.

The loss spoiled the coaching debut of Rob Coffey, who is the program’s seventh coach in eight years. 

Cuba, ranked ninth in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association preseason poll, needed just over a minute to take a double-digit advantage. The Wildcats (1-0) led 21-9 after the first quarter.

Houston twice cut the deficit to single digits early in the second. Cantrell’s layin and a pair of free throws by Walker made it a nine-point game. After a Cuba basket, Cantrell had an offensive putback to keep the lead under double figures.

But that was as close as the Tigers (0-1) would get.

Cuba closed the half with a 13-5 run to take a 17-point halftime lead. The advantage stretched to 20 points early in the third and was 30 points late in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Bouse led three Wildcats in double figures with 18 points. Bryer Nash scored 16.

Houston was 6-for-17 at the foul line. Coulter, who reached double figures in all but one game last season, missed all six of his attempts. 

Box score

 Cuba   22   15    17   14    –    68 
Houston        9      11      11      11      –      42   

CUBA (68) – Taylor Thompson 10. Tyler Fieser 4. Brendan Wild 11. Bryer Nash 16. Dylan Warren 2. Ryan Bouse 18. Cameron Williams 6. FG 26. FT 10-16. F 13. (3-pointers: Bouse 3, Thompson, Fieser).

HOUSTON (42) – Nathan Poynter 2. Devin Coulter 9. Aaron Cantrell 14. C.J. Theriot 2. Skylur Malam 2. Kobe Sutton 3. Kolby Walker 6. Keegan Spurlin 2. FG 17. FT 6-17. F 12. (3-pointers: Coulter, Sutton. Fouled out: none).

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