County rivals as opponents. Loud student section. Potential future Lady Tigers in the crowd.
The ingredients were there Thursday night for an exciting high school girls’ basketball game.
“We wanted to play hard and put on a show for everybody,” HHS coach Jim Moore said.
His team did.
Houston burnt Cabool’s zone defense with 10 3-pointers and earned its first conference victory of the season 52-46 inside Hiett Gymnasium.
It was a bragging rights type of environment with a full gymnasium and students from both schools chanting across the floor.
“It was a lot of fun in here tonight,” Moore said.
HHS bounced back from a slow start with a strong second quarter to take a lead the Lady Tigers never relinquished. They hit four triples –– two by Jaden Stell and one apiece from Kennedy Campbell and freshman Hannah Dzurick –– to turn a one-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
Houston’s advantage grew to 13 points early in the third quarter and never dipped below four the rest of the way.
Stell led three players in double figures with 19 points. Senior forward Ally Morgan added 12 points and Dzurick had 10 off the bench. Campbell just missed double digits with eight points.
Stell accounted for half of the Lady Tigers’ triples with five. Dzurick had three and Campbell connected twice from downtown.
“I thought we moved the ball really well and did a good job playing inside-out,” Moore said. “We made extra passes and found open shooters. They were catching the ball ready to shoot.”
HHS (4-8, 1-2 South Central Association) trailed 9-4 in the first quarter and 19-17 early in the second before heating up from distance.
Campbell and Dzurick connected from downtown on consecutive possessions to spark a 13-4 spurt entering halftime. Stell hit a pair of triples to end the rally as Houston led 30-23 at the break.
Stell, a sophomore point guard, has evolved into the Lady Tigers’ top offensive threat with her perimeter shooting. She hit five 3s for the second time this season.
“Her confidence is growing. She has a high, high ceiling,” Moore said. “There isn’t a shot she doesn’t think she can make. I think at times the goal looks like an ocean. When she gets squared up and gets a good look, I think it’s good.”
Stell and Campbell both hit triples to open the second half as Houston’s lead ballooned to 13 points. It was 39-30 at the end of the third.
Dzurick’s third 3-pointer pushed Houston’s lead back to 13 points with just over three minutes remaining. The advantage – and a few free throws – were enough to hold off Cabool (5-7) despite not scoring another field goal the rest of the way.
Moore said he was excited to win with players from the City of Houston’s youth basketball league in attendance. The girls received free admission to the game.
“We talked about being role models and setting an example of how Houston Lady Tigers basketball has been and will be in the future,” he said.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Dzurick scored 14 points as the JV Lady Tigers beat Cabool 49-19 Thursday night.
HHS won its third straight game to improve to 5-3.
Cabool 16 7 7 16 – 46
Houston 15 15 9 13 – 52
HOUSTON (52) – Madison Curtis 1. Kelly Hubbs 2. Hannah Dzurick 10. Ally Morgan 12. Jaden Stell 19. Kennedy Campbell 8. FG 17. FT 8-17. F 16. (3-pointers: Stell 5, Dzurick 3, Campbell 2. Fouled out: none).
Cabool 4 6 7 2 – 19
Houston 13 13 14 9 – 49
HOUSTON (49) – Jordyn Lay 4. Kelly Hubbs 8. Sarah Purcell 6. Hannah Dzurick 14. Lilly Amick 3. Jaden Stell 6. Riley Scheets 2. Annie Topping 6. FG 15. FT 13-26. F 17. (3-pointers: Dzurick 2, Stell. Fouled out: none).