Head coach Lindsey Vermillion and the HHS girls basketball team are off to a strong start in the 2021-2022 season and will face a stiff challenge at next week's Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

For the third consecutive outing, the Houston High School girls basketball team produced a victory by a wide margin.

This time the Lady Tigers routed Norwood 60-31 in a road game last Friday.

“All of my girls played well,” said head coach Lindsey Vermillion. That’s all I can ask for.”

Houston outscored the host Lady Pirates in all four quarters, leading 11-5 at the end of the first period and steadily pulling away from there.

Senior guard Hannah Dzurick led the Lady Tigers’ balanced scoring attack with 15 points, while junior forward Olivia Crites had 13 and sophomore guard Angie Smith added 10. Junior forward Karlee Curtis scored 9 points and took two charges on defense.

Senior post Sarah Purcell came off the bench to score 4 points and add a boost on both ends of the floor.

“I was proud of Sarah Purcell for coming in confident,” Vermillion said.

After a somewhat slow start, the Lady Tigers kicked into gear and gave Norwood a look at their effective up-tempo style.

“Well we didn’t run the ball as well as I wanted to, it was tough to get going Friday night,” Vermillion said. “I was proud of my girls for stepping up and working through adversity to snag the win.”

Next week, the Lady Tigers (6-1) will be in the 16-team field at the annual Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament. Fourth-seeded Houston will face No. 13 Plato in a first round contest at 1:30 p.m. Monday. If the Lady Tigers win, they’ll face either fifth-seeded Dora or No. 12 Bradleyville at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Salem is the top seed in the bracket, while Liberty is No. 2 and Mansfield is No. 3. The tournament championship game is set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 30).

“I asked my girls what their ‘why’ was,” Vermillion said. “Why do you want to win this Christmas tourney? And what was it going to take? For us to have success, we have to have a relentless mindset, we have to make things happen because it’s not going to be handed to us. We have to trust our teammates. We are going to get everyone’s best. We have to have relentless communication, work as a team, have relentless defense and out-rebound every opponent to reach our goals.

“And we have exactly what it takes.”  

The high school girls basketball Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament bracket.

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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