After squandering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, the Houston High School boys basketball team regrouped and came out on top in a hotly contested South Central Association contest Friday night at Cabool, 48-46.
“Hats off to Cabool,” said HHS head coach Rod Gorman. “They played well, but we made enough plays down the stretch to get a win.”
The game began with the two teams exchanging scoring runs. Houston was up 9-2 after senior guard Kyler Ramsey nailed a 3-point shot with 4:20 left in the first quarter, but Cabool answered with a 10-0 run and led 12-9 when sophomore forward Brian Morgan sank a trey with 1:19 to go in the period.
The score was tied at 12-all at the end of the opening period after Tiger senior guard Dalton Dzurick drained a 3-pointer with 3 seconds remaining.
Houston took the advantage in the second quarter and led 23-16 after Dzurick connected on a trey with 3:55 left in the first half. The Tigers built their largest lead of the half at 27-18 when senior forward Connor Wilson made a shot from the low blocks with 1:25 showing on the clock, and Houston went into the break ahead 29-22.
The Tigers maintained the margin through most of the third quarter, and led 36-25 after sophomore forward Korbyn Tune finished a fast break with a layup at the 4:45 mark. When junior forward Ty Franklin knocked down a 3-pointer with 1 second left, Houston went into the final period with a 43-32 lead.
The host Bulldogs put the pressure on down the stretch, and pulled to within a basket at 45-43 when junior forward Trevor Atkins buried a 3-pointer with 2:55 to go. With the home team’s big crowd raising to roof on Hoop Queen night, Cabool went back on top at 46-45 when junior guard Logan Primanzon drilled a trey with 1:35 remaining. Atkins and Primanzon each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the Bulldogs’ comeback.
But the Tigers didn’t fold, and a large gathering of Houston fans went crazy when senior guard Clayton Moore sank a layup on a breakaway following a steal on the defensive end of the court to put the visitors ahead 47-46 with 27 seconds left.
Moore was then fouled with 13 seconds to go, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. But during the wild moments that followed, Cabool was whistled for a traveling call. Franklin was then fouled and sank 1-of-2 free throws to put Houston up 48-46.
With the fans of both sides creating a high decibel level in the building, Primanzon put up a 5-foot shot from the baseline with 1 second left that could have sent the game into overtime, but the ball hit the rim and fell away.
Franklin and Moore led Houston’s balanced scoring attack with 10 points apiece. Dzurick sank three treys and finished with 9 points, while Tune scored 7, Ramsey had 6 and senior forward Sterling Jackson added 4. Only four players scored for Cabool, as junior forward Jacob Shockley had 14 points, Primanzon had 13 (including three treys), senior forward Zach Beller had 11 (including 9 in the first half) and Atkins finished with 8.
“In the end, we’re all team players,” Franklin said, “and we won’t back down from anything.”
Gorman credited his team’s depth as one of the primary reasons for the win.
“Our bench played awesome in the first half, and gave us a big lift,” he said. “Those guys got a lead for us and we held on in a tough environment.”
Both coaches, many players and most fans at times questioned the officiating in the game, as Houston was assessed 10 fouls in the first half and 5 in the second half, while Cabool (13-8, 0-3 SCA) had only 3 fouls in the first half and 8 in the second. On multiple occasions, several fouls were called in rapid succession, only to have the whistles go silent over the next few possessions despite the contact being equal (if not harder). Other calls on various violations (like traveling and over-and-back) made coaches and other people wonder, often with raised arms and raised voices.
“No matter how they were calling fouls, we just kept going with it,” Franklin said.
CLOSE CALL IN MOUNTAIN VIEW
On Monday (Feb. 3), the Tigers fell 58-50 in an SCA contest in Mountain View against Liberty.
Houston led much of the way and was on top 42-41 at the end of the third quarter, but the host Eagles outscored the Tigers 17-8 in the final period to secure the victory.
Moore led all scorers in the game with 22 points, while Franklin had 11 and Tune added 10.
“The guys played very well,” Gorman said, “but we just didn’t make enough plays in the fourth quarter.”
Next up for Houston (10-9, 1-2 SCA) is a pair of SCA home games, as the Tigers host Ava on Tuesday (Feb. 11) and Willow Springs on Friday (Feb. 14).