Three-and-a-half quarters of strong play was enough for the Houston Lady Tigers to overcome a few late mistakes.
HHS rallied for a fourth-quarter advantage and despite turnovers on four straight possessions down the stretch, edged Mansfield 44-43 Monday night in the opening round of the Mansfield Tournament.
The Lady Tigers advance to face top-seeded Licking at 6 p.m. Thursday. The third-place and championship games are Saturday night.
Houston (6-9) only committed seven turnovers against the Lady Lions’ fullcourt pressure through three quarters. But they turned it over seven times in the fourth quarter alone, including four straight as they hung onto to a four-point advantage.
“We played pretty good basketball for 3 1/2 quarters,” HHS coach Brent Kell said. “Then –– it’s the same story –– they turned up the pressure a little bit and we wilted.
“But I’m proud of the girls for hanging on.”
Sarah Kelley scored 13 points and Kylee Elmore added 12 to pace the Lady Tigers.
Kell praised the play of senior Sydney Cremer, who had nine points and a team-best 11 rebounds.
“She has just been steady for us,” he said.
Houston held Mansfield’s Kailey Morris, who had scored 30-plus points in three straight games, to 15 with a box-and-one. Freshmen Abby Casper and Jaydin Ramsey took turns guarding Morris.
“I’m really proud of those kids as freshmen to be able to do that,” Kell said.
The victory was the second in a row for the Lady Tigers, who topped Stoutland 51-39 Friday night inside Hiett Gymnasium.
Elmore and Kelley scored 14 points apiece to lead the team. Kelley led HHS with 12 rebounds.
“We’re starting to play well defensively and rebound the ball,” Kell said. “Now we’ve got to hit some outside shots, and it can’t come from just one person. If we can do that, we can be pretty scary.”
HOUSTON (44) – Kylee Elmore 12. Abby Casper 2. Sydney Cremer 9. Makayla Koch 4. Sarah Kelley 13. Jaydin Ramsey 2. Kaylea Preheim 2. FG 19. FT 5-9. F 11. (3-pointers: Elmore. Fouled out: none).
MANSFIELD (43) – Logan Alsup 2. Kailey Morris 15. Tailer Stofer 6. Calista Bogart 3. Blaine Dennis 8. Maci Gray 2. Morgan Price 7. FG 18. FT 3-9. F 14. (3-pointers: Morris 2, Bogart, Price. Fouled out: none).
STOUTLAND (39) – Becca Ash 6. Alicia Willard 2. Elli Gilbert 2. Alexa Willard 12. Kayla Brown 17. FG 18. FT 0-1. F 16. (3-pointers: Brown 3. Fouled out: none).
HOUSTON (51) – Kylee Elmore 14. Shelby Cremer 4. Abby Casper 1. Sydney Cremer 9. Makayla Koch 4. Sarah Kelley 14. Kaylea Preheim 5. FG 20. FT 8-12. F 7. (3-pointers: Elmore 2. Fouled out: none).