MOUNTAIN GROVE – At halftime, Brent Kell challenged his guards to provide some perimeter scoring.
Jaydin Ramsey obliged – in a big way.
Ramsey scored 13 of Houston’s 15 third-quarter points to lead the second-seeded Houston Lady Tigers to a 47-34 victory Monday against Licking in the quarterfinals of the Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament.
Ramsey hit three 3-pointers, a long jumper while being fouled and converted a basket in traffic in the third quarter as Houston stretched its eight-point lead to a 13-point advantage.
“We challenged them at halftime,” Kell said. “We told them as much as they have that zone packed in, they’re making fun of you that you can’t shoot outside.”
Ramsey, a junior, scored a career-best 20 points to lead the HHS offense. Sarah Kelley added 13 as the only other HHS player in double figures.
Ashley Ingram led Licking with 18 points.
The Lady Tigers face third-seeded Salem in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The championship – with a potential matchup against state-ranked Gainesville – and third-place games are Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a tough road,” Kell said. “But we want that challenge.”
Houston (8-2) received a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the 14-team tournament. Top-seeded Gainesville also was given a bye.
But Kell didn’t think that was an advantage.
“I would have rather played in the first round,” Kell said. “I thought we got a little stale.”
With HHS ahead 9-5, Kelley drained a 3-pointer to spark a quick 9-0 run that put the Lady Tigers ahead by 13 points.
But Licking, which lost to Houston by 23 points one week earlier, trimmed the deficit to eight as Ingram scored right before halftime.
Ramsey drained a triple to start the third quarter to push the advantage back to double digits. An Ingram jumper near the end of the third quarter made it 33-26, but Ramsey drilled two more treys to give HHS a 39-26 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Licking attempted to make a late surge with a 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter. But Houston’s guards again answered as Abby Casper hit a 3-pointer – her lone points – from the right corner and Ramsey converted a jumper.
“It wasn’t our best effort. I thought our energy was pretty good, but our execution wasn’t, Kell said. “We’ve got to put together a full game.”
Licking 5 11 10 8 – 34
Houston 16 8 15 8 – 47
HOUSTON (47) – Kaitlyn Root 3. Shelby Cremer 2. Abby Casper 3. Sarah Kelley 13. Jaydin Ramsey 20. Emily Shea 2. Alyssa Hayes 4. FG 17. FT 7-12. F 18. (3-pointers: Ramsey 4, Casper, Kelley. Fouled out: none).