Houston 7th-grade guard Aaron McCarthy gets his hands out on defense in a game against Thayer last week in Hiett Gymnasium. Credit: EMILY HONEYCUTT | HOUSTON HERALD

Houston hosted a 10-team middle school basketball tournament last week, with 8th-grade games played in the new gym and 7th-grade contests in Hiett Gym.

Houston Middle School’s 8th-grade squad went 3-1 in the event.

The Tigers fell to Richards in the first round, 48-32. Houston then rattled off three straight wins to top the consolation bracket, beating Thayer 34-27 and Ava 41-21 before downing West Plains 35-19 in the consolation final. 

Richards went on to win the tournament, beating Liberty in the championship game, 36-29.

Against Richards, Karson Walker and D.J. Riley led Houston in scoring with 12 points apiece, while Randal Dodd had 6.

Walker led a balanced scoring attack in the win over Thayer with 10 points, while Caden Guerra had 8, Riley had 7 and Gavyn Daily and Riley Reed each added 4.

Walker poured in 23 points in the victory over Ava, and then topped Houston scorers against West Plains with 13 points, while Riley had 11 and Dodd added 5.

Head coach Jake Brookshire said he didn’t feel like the Tigers brought their A-game to the contest with Richards, but stepped things up after that.

“I felt like we didn’t play anywhere up to our potential against them,” Brookshire said, “and that was a bit frustrating. But the kids really came together and became better basketball players throughout the rest of the week. We had to beat three teams who are generally very good year in and year out.

“Anytime you can go 3-1 in this tournament, I feel like you must have played pretty well. I hope to see us get better each game as the year goes on.”  

The HMS 7th-grade team lost 35-17 to Richards in the opening round and then fell to Thayer in the consolation bracket, 33-14.

Dillon Shelton led the young Tigers in scoring against Richards with 16 points, and then had 6 in the loss to Thayer, while Nate Jadwin added 4.

Mountain Grove beat Willow Springs 56-28 for the championship.

“Our 7th-grade team is still learning the game of basketball,” Brookshire said. “They did some good things in the tournament and are anxious to learn. We were proud of their effort.”

The two HMS squads play a pair of home games this week, hosting Salem on Monday and Liberty on Tuesday.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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