Salem's Payton Curley pressures Houston junior Abby Casper as she shoots in the first half of Tuesday's game.

MOUNTAIN GROVE – A slow start doomed the Houston Lady Tigers.

HHS fell behind 19-1 Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament and never recovered. Salem won 52-40.

HHS basketball

Houston senior Makayla Koch scores in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s semifinal against Salem.

“We came out so flat,” HHS coach Brent Kell said. “That’s just not acceptable.”

With the loss to Salem – a team Houston beat 63-57 earlier this season in the finale of the Cabool Invitational – the Lady Tigers will play Willow Springs at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for third place. 

The Lady Tigers (8-3) beat Willow Springs 63-60 in the semifinals of the Cabool Invitational en route to the title game.

“I challenged the kids,” Kell said. “I said, ‘You know, we’ll find out how big of fighters you are.’ Because I think they’re pretty good fighters. We could have easily packed it in. Now Willow’s going to be out to get us the same way. We’ll find out what we’re made of tomorrow.”

Sarah Kelley led the Lady Tigers with 20 points as the lone HHS in double figures. Jaydin Ramsey and Alyssa Hayes added five points apiece.

Houston’s 40 points were a season low.

Payton Curley led Salem with 21 points.


Salem    21     9    7    15     –   52 
Houston          4      13      11      12       –   40   

SALEM (52) – Camryn Pryor 4. Kaleigh Nash 10. Payton Curley 21. Kari Hatridge 4. Kara Powell 5. Baylee Bilyeu 8. FG 17. FT 14-19. F 18. (3-pointers: Nash 2, Curley 2. Fouled out: Bilyeu).

HOUSTON (40) – Kaitlyn Root 3. Shelby Cremer 3. Makayla Koch 4. Sarah Kelley 20. Jaydin Ramsey 5. Alyssa Hayes 5. FG 11. FT 16-27. F 17. (3-pointers: Kelley, Ramsey. Fouled out: none).

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