On the strength of a well-rounded offensive attack and active defensive pressure from beginning to end, the Houston High School boys basketball team beat Eminence 65-32 on Tuesday of last week in Hiett Gymnasium.

The Tigers then won again in a road game last Friday, beating Seymour 42-35.

The Tigers got off to a fast start in the contest against Eminence and led 9-2 after a 3-pointer by senior guard Clayton Moore with 4:10 left in the first quarter. The visiting Redwings chipped away at the deficit for the remainder of the period, but after 6-4 sophomore forward Korbyn Tune swatted away a short shot by Eminence freshman Dylan Beal with 5 seconds left, Houston led 15-9 going into the second period.

The Tigers steadily increased their lead the rest of the way, and led by double-figures early in the second quarter on the way to a 32-17 halftime advantage.

The rout was on after the break, as Houston went on a 12-2 run to open the third quarter to lead 44-19 at the 4:50 of the the period. The flurry began with three consecutive short baskets by Tune (including a twisting layup from the low post, a jump hook from the right side of the lane and a layup at the end of a fast break) and was capped off by a 3-pointer by senior guard Tristan Leier.

After a trey by senior forward Sterling Jackson with 10 seconds to go in the quarter, Houston led 51-23 going into the final 8 minutes and coasted home from there.

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HHS head coach Rod Gorman again substituted freely in the contest, keeping fresh legs on the floor by running multiple players in and out from beginning to end. Thanks to the Tigers’ constant active defensive pressure, the Redwings scored fewer than 10 points in all four quarters.

Jackson had a breakout game and led all scorers with 15 points. As part of Houston’s balanced scoring attack, Leier and junior forward Ty Franklin each had 10 points, while Tune finished with 9, Moore had 7 and senior forward Dakota Burchett added 6.

“We have 11 guys with heart,” Jackson said, “and everybody has different skills. When that’s the case, it’s up to the coach to put you in the right situations. Tonight was my night, but the next time it might be one of the other guys’ night.

“We have so much depth, we’re going to be a really good team.”

DEFENSE RULES

The contest at Seymour was for the most part a defensive struggle for 32 minutes.

The two teams matched wits in the first half, with the host Tigers leading their visiting namesakes 7-6 after the first quarter and 16-15 at the break. The score was still tied with time running out in the third period, but senior guard Kyler Ramsey buried a 3-pointer to give Houston a 29-26 advantage going into the final period.

Franklin led Houston in scoring with 17 points, as the 6-3 junior gave his team a huge boost during the decisive fourth quarter by going 4-for-4 from the foul line and totaling 11 points. Ramsey finished with 14 points (7 in each half), while Tune added 4.

“Any time you go 2-0 in a week you feel good about it,” Gorman said. “We were able to play really good at home against Eminence, and then went on the road and played in a tough gym to win in and came out on top.”

Houston (3-2) is in the field this week at the seven-team Mansfield Tournament.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Gorman said. “A lot of times when you play three games in a week you can find some rhythm. Of course, we have to win some to play three – there are no guarantees – but it’s an opportunity for us to play a lot of basketball and maybe find some rhythm on offense.”

Gorman said the low scoring contest against Seymour might be a precursor of what’s to come.

“I talked earlier about us finding our identity or our staple,” he said, “and I’m really thinking defense is going to be that.”

The Tigers’ next home game is set for Friday, Dec. 20, against county rival Plato.

“I’m pleased with where we’re at,” Gorman said, “but we still have a lot of progress to make.”

Jackson said the Tigers thrive on fans’ support.

“This town loves basketball,” he said, “and our team rallies around our town and our community. We just love how everybody comes out and supports us; it’s not just a team thing, it’s a community thing.”

“We just love how everybody comes out and supports us; it’s not just a team thing, it’s a community thing.”

HHS SENIOR FORWARD STERLING JACKSON

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