Houston Middle School’s 8th-grade boys basketball team continued a strong season with a pair of victories last week.

The Tigers won 52-29 Tuesday at Ava and beat Thayer 43-19 Thursday in a home game inside Hiett Gymnasium.

At Ava, Houston trailed by 3 points at halftime.

“We were getting out-hustled, out-rebounded and out played,” said head coach Jake Brookshire. “The second half was a different story from the first possession. Our kids stepped up their defensive intensity and stopped turning the ball over on offense. It was a great second half of basketball.”  

Guard Karson Walker led the Tigers in scoring in the contest with 26 points, while D.J. Riley had 14 and Randall Dodd added 6.

Defensive intensity led to a big second half again against Thayer, as the Tigers’ guards put a lot of pressure on the ball and created several turnovers, while Houston’s bigs hit the boards hard  and stayed out of foul trouble. 

Walker again led the way in scoring with 20 points, while Riley had 11, Riley Reed had 6 and Austin Keller added 4.

“It was fun seeing Austin get his first points of the year,” Brookshire said.

The victories raised the Tigers’ season record to 8-1.

The HMS 7th-grade Tigers recorded their first win of the season by beating Ava 30-27 in overtime.

“They played as a team and played some great defense,” Brookshire said. “It was an exciting overtime finish and it was good to see their hard work end in a win. They keep getting better each game.”

Kane Crawford led Houston in scoring in the game with 18 points, while Kyson Brede had 6 and Nate Jadwin added 3.

At Thayer, the young Tigers fell 38-16.

Dylan Shelton topped Houston in scoring with 9 points, while Jadwin, Hudson Volk and Aaron McCarthy had 2 apiece.

“Thayer has a very good 7th-grade team and I thought we played really well,” Brookshire said. “They were much, much bigger than we were, but we did a nice job overall blocking out and rebounding.”

The HMS girls squad fell Monday at Willow Springs, 45-26.

Kynlee Weaver led Houston in scoring with 12 points, while Annabelle Westbrook had 6 and Kayla Wagner added 4.

This week, the two HMS boys squads host St. James on Monday and travel to Cabool on Tuesday. The Lady Tigers (4-3) travel to Mountain Grove on Tuesday and host Liberty on Thursday.

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