HHS senior guard Hannah Dzurick makes a move to the basket through the raised arms of a trio of Bakersfield defenders during the second half of the Lady Tigers' win Monday in Houston's new gym. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Good basketball teams typically try to take advantage of opportunities and never let up.

The Houston High School Lady Tigers looked the part in their last two outings, dispatching two nonconference opponents by 5o-point margins. In a road game last Thursday, Houston beat Koshkonong 68-18. Then on Monday, the Lady Tigers ran away from Bakersfield on their home floor, 89-34.

“I feel that the team is working together well, reading each other, and starting to talk on defense,” said HHS head coach Lindsey Vermillion. “At this point in the season, I’m feeling confident with the work my girls are putting in.”

Houston took control early at Koshkonong, outscoring the host Lady Jays 24-4 in the first quarter. The Lady Tigers nailed four 3-pointers during the offensive outburst, and senior guard Hannah Dzurick poured in 10 points.

After Houston led 43-13 at halftime, things got worse for the Lady Jays in the third quarter as they were blanked in the period while the Lady Tigers added another 16 points.

Dzurick led Houston in scoring in the contest with 20 points, while sophomore guard Angie Smith had 12 and junior forward Olivia Crites added 10. A season-high 10 players score for the Lady Tigers, as junior Aliyah Walker had 7 points, freshman Lacey Cavaness had 6 and junior Makenzi Arthur added 5.

HHS head coach Lindsey Vermillion used the situation to focus on a few things and to give reserve players some valuable minutes.

“We jumped on them early and got to work on breaking some bad habits,” Vermillion said. “I’m happy my junior varsity got to play most of the game and work on their confidence.” 

In Monday’s game, the visiting Lady Lions had a bit of success early and trailed 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.

HHS junior guard Katie Jo Chipps eyes the basket while being guarded by Bakersfield senior Nautica Smith during the second half of the Lady Tigers’ win Monday in Houston’s new gym.

But Houston cranked up the offense in the second period and held a commanding 46-22 advantage at halftime after a flurry of fast break baskets that followed numerous steals and defensive rebounds.

The Lady Tigers kept the pedal to the metal throughout the second half, outscoring Bakersfield 21-7 in the third quarter and 22-5 in the fourth.

The Lady Lions never figured out how to deal with Houston’s relentless, swarming defense, and only managed to pull down a handful of rebounds while Houston nabbed board after board.

Crites dominated play on both ends of the floor in the first half, scoring 18 of her game-high 22 points before the break. The 5-11 forward went 10-for-11 from the free throw line in the game and snatched 12 rebounds.

Smith scored 13 points in the first half and finished with 20, while also grabbing 6 rebounds. Junior guard Katie Jo Chipps had a season-high 15 points (including 9 in the fourth quarter), while Dzurick had 12 (all in the second half) and junior forward Karlee Curtis added 9 points (including 7 in the first half) and pulled down 11 boards.

HHS girls head coach Lindsey Vermillion looks at the scoreboard during the second half of the Lady Tigers’ win over Bakersfield Monday in Houston’s new gym.

The Lady Tigers (5-1) travel to Norwood this Friday (Dec. 17). After being idle next week, Houston will be in the field the following week at the annual Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament.

“I think there are many areas we can improve on,” Vermillion said, “but we are still early in the season. We do not overlook anyone; we go into each game ready for battle and to work together to get the win.” 

To view a photo gallery from the Tigers’ game against Bakersfield (with the option to purchase photos), click here.

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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