First-year Houston girls' basketball coach Jim Moore discusses a call with an official Tuesday night.

The Houston Lady Tigers don’t have the luxury of easing into a new system with a new head coach.

Houston junior Chloe Hunninghake looks to pass out of a double team in the second half of Tuesday’s home game against Sullivan.

With an 0-2 record to start the season, HHS returns to the court Thursday night in a home game with Dora as it looks for its first win under coach Jim Moore.

“There’s a little bit of a learning curve,” Moore said. “But I hope not very long because our schedule doesn’t get any easier.”

After losing at the buzzer to Fordland on Saturday, the Lady Tigers had a challenging second game Tuesday against Sullivan. Although it was an opponent from a bigger district, Moore was not pleased with the way his team played in a 66-41 loss. Late in the first half, he pulled all five players off the court for substitutes.

“I was letting them know the way we were playing was not Houston Tiger basketball,” Moore said. “It’s not what we’re about. I expect them to step up and answer the call. I think they will.”

Senior point guard Abby Casper scored 13 points as the lone player in double figures against Sullivan. Jaydin Ramsey and Chloe Hunninghake added eight points apiece.

Houston trailed 14-5 after the opening quarter and was outscored in every quarter.

Moore said his team still isn’t playing at the frantic pace he expects.

“I thought we were in slow motion on both sides of the floor,” Moore said. “I know they played an uptempo pace last year, but we’re trying to play even faster.”

Houston easily beat Dora twice last season –– 64-25 on Dec. 3 and 48-22 four days later in the Lady Bulldog Invitational –– but Moore has warned his team to expect a tougher challenge this time around.

“We won a district championship last year,” Moore said. “I know this is a different team, but everyone knows that. We have a target on our back and will get everyone’s best game.”

No matter what happens Thursday night, the road ahead won’t be an easy one.

Houston travels Monday to Licking, which is 3-0 and ranked 12th in the Ozark Sport Zone’s power rankings. The following week, the Lady Tigers travel to Newburg –– the top seed in the preseason Frisco Tournament –– and Dec. 16 host Norwood, the sixth-ranked team in Class 2.

Even with the challenges ahead, Moore said he is confident.

“There are some good times coming. I believe that,” he said.

JUNIOR VARSITY: The Houston JV Lady Tigers couldn’t hang onto an early advantage and lost their season opener 27-23 Tuesday night to Sullivan.

Houston led 7-0 after the opening quarter but was outscored in each quarter the rest of the way.

Carly Crawford led the JV Lady Tigers with 10 points. Chloe Hunninghake added five and Kennedy Campbell had four.

BOX SCORES

VARSITY

Sullivan 14 20 14 18 – 66

Houston 5 11 12 13 – 41

SULLIVAN (66) – McKenna McCoy 17. Bria Jones 18. Mallor Shetley 7. Katie Creek 5. Jenna Lochner 4. Clare Shetley 10. Sophie Sellers 2. Lauren Hoffman 2. FG 27. FT 7-10. F 14. (3-pointers: Jones 2, McCoy, Creek. Fouled out: none).

HOUSTON (41) – Kaitlyn Root 6. Abby Casper 13. Chloe Hunninghake 8. Carly Crawford 2. Jaydin Ramsey 8. Emily Shea 2. Alyssa Hayes 2. FG 14. FT 11-16. F 13. (3-pointers: Hunninghake 2. Fouled out: none.)

JUNIOR VARSITY

Sullivan 0 11 8 8 – 27

Houston 7 6 5 5 – 23

HOUSTON (23) – Madison Curtis 2. Kenzie Reber 2. Chloe Hunninghake 5. Carly Crawford 10. Kennedy Campbell 4. FG 10. FT 0-3. F 20. (3-pointers: Hunninghake, Crawford. Fouled out: Curtis.)

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