Jim Moore’s first victory at his alma mater is finally here.
“I waited a long time to get win No. 1,” Moore said. “I didn’t know if coach Kell was ever going to retire.”
In the third game of his tenure succeeding Houston’s longtime girls’ basketball coach, Moore found himself in the win column for the first time Thursday night as his Lady Tigers defeated Dora 58-39 inside Hiett Gymnasium.
“I told the girls after the game that I’ll never forget this one,” said Moore, a 1993 HHS graduate who took over the program following Brent Kell’s 30 years at the helm. “I’m proud to be home and proud of my school.”
After consecutive losses to open the season, the Lady Tigers (1-2) wasted no time putting away Dora for their first victory. They scored the first eight points of the game as part of a 13-2 run to take a lead they never relinquished.
Houston’s frontcourt duo of Kaitlyn Root and Alyssa Hayes led the way with 25 combined points –– 13 from Root and 12 by Hayes. Abby Casper and Chloe Hunninghake added nine points apiece.
Moore said his team took another step toward playing the fast pace he desires.
“We’re on the right track. We’re starting to push the ball more and play at a quicker tempo,” he said. “This is one of the hardest-working teams I’ve ever coached. It hadn’t transitioned into games until tonight.”
Houston led 29-20 at the half and still by nine entering the fourth quarter. The advantage grew with an 11-0 run early that included back-to-back baskets by Hayes and a conventional three-point play by Root.
Hayes, a senior center, had scored two combined points in the first two games of the season before reaching double figures against Dora.
“We made a switch and let Kaitlyn Root throw the ball in. It allowed Alyssa to get out and run the floor, so she was out in front,” Moore said. “It provided some opportunities for her.”
Moore, who coached at Pierce City, Fair Grove, Carthage and Aurora the previous 14 years before coming home, will attempt to build his first winning streak at Houston when the Lady Tigers travel Monday to Licking.
“It’s a good feeling,” Moore said. “Now we need to build on it and maybe put a string of wins together and see if we can’t get rolling a little bit.”
JUNIOR VARSITY: Ally Morgan scored 11 points as the JV Lady Tigers beat Dora 38-17 Thursday night for their first win.
Kenzie Reber added eight points for Houston (1-1), which led 12-2 after the first quarter.
Dora 8 12 8 11 – 39
Houston 18 11 8 21 – 58
DORA (39) – Taylor Trail 2. Emma Berry 3. Kryslyn Colvin 12. Kelsey Strong 6. Desiree Downen 12. Ashlynn Vanatter 2. Keeli Land 2. FG 12. FT 14-22. F 17. (3-pointers: Colvin. Fouled out: none.)
HOUSTON (58) – Kaitlyn Root 13. Abby Casper 9. Stephani Crewse 2. Ally Morgan 4. Chloe Hunninghake 9. Jaydin Ramsey 7. Emily Shea 2. Alyssa Hayes 12. FG 20. FT 15-24. F 23. (3-pointers: Hunninghake 3. Fouled out: Crewse.)
Dora 2 4 5 6 – 17
Houston 12 2 12 12 – 38
HOUSTON (38) – Kaitlyn Root 2. Sevanna Rowland 4. Madison Curtis 2. Kenzie Reber 8. Ally Morgan 11. Chloe Hunninghake 5. Kennedy Campbell 4. FG 17. FT 3-6. F 13. (3-pointers: Hunninghake. Fouled out: none.)