At this week’s 85th annual Lions Invitational Tournament at Mansfield, the Houston High School boys basketball team split its first two games.
Seeded third in the six-team event, Houston beat Dora 61-51 in a first round contest on Tuesday, but then fell 56-37 to second-seeded Willow Springs on Thursday.
In the win over Dora, Houston led 16-12 at the end of the first quarter, but scored only 2 points in the second period and trailed 30-18 at halftime.
The Tigers’ offense then came alive and they outscored the Falcons 43-21 in the second half.
Junior guard Garyn Hall led the charge by scoring 20 of his game and career-high 23 points after the break, nailing three 3-pointers in the third quarter and then sinking 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth period.
Senior Tanner Lee scored 10 points for Houston, while senior Hunter McKinney had 9 and senior Noah Gulick and junior Dakota James each had 8. The Tigers knocked down a season-high eight 3-point shots, with Hall drilling 4 and McKinney hitting 2, while James and sophomore John Kimrey sank 1 apiece.
Sophomores Brylon Mayberry and Ashton Roberts led Dora in scoring with 14 points each.
Against Willow Springs, Houston was behind 18-15 after a low-scoring first half. The Bears controlled the boards in the half and got numerous second chances with offensive rebounds, and they might have been ahead by a greater margin if not for being ice-cold from the field.
Willow Springs then took control in the third period, outscoring the Tigers 26-11, before the two teams exchanged blows in the final 8 minutes.
Hall led Houston in the contest scoring with 11 points, while McKinney had 8 and Gulick and Lee added 6 apiece.
The Tiger managed only 9 field goals in the game and went 15-for-25 from the foul line.
Senior guard Owen Duddrigde led the Bears’ offense with 18 points, while senior Gabe Colvin and junior Scooter Osborn each had 8.
The Tigers wrap up the tournament by taking on host Mansfield on Friday night (Dec. 10). Willow Springs meets top-seeded Norwood in the final.
To view a photo gallery from the Tigers’ game against Willow Springs (with the option to purchase photos), click here.