With a roster dominated by underclassmen, the Houston High School girls basketball team had a difficult time dealing with a more experienced and polished opponent and lost 68-37 in a contest against county rival Licking Monday night in Hiett Gymnasium.

Both teams ran on virtually every possession in the first quarter, but Licking jumped out to 10-2 lead after the opening tip and quickly racked up points to lead 32-19 at the end of the period.

Houston (1-1) then scored only 2 points in the second period and trailed 43-21 at halftime.

Stell led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 19 points. The active guard tossed in four 3-pointers in the game, including three in the first quarter as she tried to help her squad keep pace during Licking’s early onslaught.

Only three other players scored for Houston, as Dzurick had 11 points, Walker had 4 and Curtis added 3.

Licking was led by senior guard Karlee Holland, who used a deadly mix of slashing, short-range shots and long-range bombs to finish with a game-high 27 points. Freshman forward Abbie Sullins added 17 for the Lady Wildcats.

“It was a game we needed to see where we’re at and what we need to work on,” Lady Tigers head coach Jim Moore said. “We’re young and we made some mistakes, and Licking was able to take advantage of some of these and ultimately pull away. But I’m really proud of my team and how hard we played for four quarters. Our intensity was good, our desire was good and our effort was there.” 

Many of Licking’s shots were not contested, and the Lady Wildcats got numerous second tries.

“We have to guard better by playing better help defense and not allowing straight line drives to the basket,” Moore said. “And we have to rebound better. There were many times we were in a position to get the rebound, but didn’t attack the rebound. 

“But it was a game that helped us grow up a little. We will learn from it and be better the next time we take the floor.”

Houston travels to Taney County Friday night to take on Bradleyville.

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