HHS basketball

A strong finish propelled the Houston Lady Tigers into a championship game while knocking off their biggest rivals.

In a back-and-forth battle that featured nine ties and 12 lead changes, HHS outscored Licking 9-2 in the final 2 minutes, 2 seconds of Thursday night’s semifinal of the Mansfield Tournament.

No. 4 Houston 52, No. 1 Licking 46.

Houston (7-9) has won three straight games entering Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game against Mountain Grove.

Sophomore Sarah Kelley led three HHS players in double figures with 17 points. Kylee Elmore had 14 points and freshman Jaydin Ramsey added 10.

The Lady Tigers, who lost by 30 points to Licking on Dec. 23, shot a season-best 54.5 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers – less than half their season average.

Licking had a 28-19 rebounding advantage, but the Lady Wildcats shot 39.6 percent and only attempted nine free throws. Megan Smith led all scorers with 25 points.

Ty Bisker gave Licking a 44-43 advantage when she scored with 2:47 left in the game. But the lead didn’t last. Beginning with two Elmore free throws at the 2:02 mark, Houston scored nine of the game’s final 11 points.

Kelley’s basket after an Abby Casper steal put HHS ahead 47-44. After Smith scored with 33 seconds left to pull Licking within one, Shelby Cremer made two foul shots to extend the lead to three. 

Cremer made another free throw following a 3-point miss and after another Licking misfire, Sydney Cremer connected on two free throws with 17 seconds left to secure the upset.

BOX SCORE

Houston       14      13      13      17      –      52   
Licking    13    13    9    11    –    46 

HOUSTON (52) – Kylee Elmore 14. Shelby Cremer 5. Abby Casper 2. Sydney Cremer 4. Sarah Kelley 17. Jaydin Ramsey 10. FG 18. FT 13-21. F 15. (3-pointers: Elmore 2, Ramsey. Fouled out: none).

LICKING (46) – Laken Hebblewaite 1. Hali Littrell 2. Megan Smith 25. Abby Duncan 4. Jessica Storm 4. Ty Bisker 10. FG 19. FT 5-9. F 18. (3-pointers: Smith 3. Fouled out: none).

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