The Houston Tigers’ play is earning the praises of its veteran coach.

HHS used a second-half surge to pull away from Richland for a 49-37 victory Tuesday night inside Hiett Gymnasium.

“I don’t think I ever thought we’d be this far along,” Gorman said. “I thought we’d win a game or two more, but maybe not see the progress we’re seeing right now. I’m really pleased.”

The team’s fifth win matched last year’s win total in its first year under Gorman. The Tigers (5-7) have won three of their last four games.

“I can’t tell you how proud of our kids I am,” Gorman said. “They are like sponges right now. They’re getting it. Wow, it’s fun.”

The Tigers built on a three-point halftime advantage by scoring the first nine points of the third quarter –– on four baskets by four different players. Houston opened the fourth by scoring 14 of the first 18 points to lead by 18 points with 3 minutes, 55 seconds remaining.

Sophomore Clayton Moore led four players in double figures with 16 points. Michael Zamarron scored 11 points off the bench and Isaiah Buse and Ty McCloud scored 10 points apiece.

“The strength of our ballclub is our balance,” Gorman said. “Michael has found his niche, Ty is attacking the basket and all those sophomores are out there trying to make shots. It’s working well for us.”

The Tigers were without starting point guard Paydon Dixon, who injured his knee Friday in the consolation final of the Cabool Holiday Tournament. Gorman said Dixon’s kneecap shifted out of place. He will have a MRI in the coming days.

“The doctor wasn’t thinking it’s bad,” Gorman said. “We’re hoping to have him back in a couple weeks. We missed him out there tonight.”

HHS scored the first seven points of the game for a quick lead before Richland answered with a 7-0 run to tie it and set up a back-and-forth first half.

McCloud opened the third quarter with a layin followed by a triple by Buse. Moore’s backdoor layup made it a 10-point HHS lead and the advantage was 12 points on Dakota Burchett’s bucket inside. Zamarron beat the third-quarter buzzer with an off-balance 3-pointer that made it 35-26.

Moore nailed a pair of 3-pointers during Houston’s 14-4 run to start the fourth that put the game away.

The Tigers held Richland (4-9) to seven second-half field goals

“Our defense has drastically improved –– knowing when to switch, helping each other, doubling,” Gorman said. “We’ve come a long way.”

Houston will go for its sixth win –– surpassing last year’s total and matching the program’s most since 2013-’14 –– on Friday against Summersville.

“Right now, we’re talking about getting better every day,” Gorman said.

JUNIOR VARSITY: Burchett scored 10 points and Jaekan Moss had eight in the JV Tigers’ 48-37 win Tuesday night against Richland.

Houston improved to 4-5.

BOX SCORES

VARSITY

Richland 7 10 9 11 – 37

Houston 9 11 15 14 – 49

HOUSTON (49) – Isaiah Buse 10. Clayton Moore 16. Michael Zamarron 11. Dakota Burchett 2. Ty McCloud 10. FG 19. FT 4-7. F 10. (3-pointers: Moore 4, Buse 2, Zamarron. Fouled out: none).

JUNIOR VARSITY

Richland 4 8 12 13 – 37

Houston 9 13 13 13 – 48

HOUSTON (48) – Nick Zamarron 5. Tyler Smith 6. Jaekan Moss 8. Trystan Lier 2. Ty Franklin 6. Dalton Dzurick 4. Sterling Jackson 7. Dakota Burchett 10. FT 21. FT 4-12. F 11. (3-pointers: Smith 2. Fouled out: none).

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