HHS junior guard Dakota James puts up a shot during the second quarter of the Tigers' win over Newburg Tuesday night in Houston's new gym. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Trailing 35-26 early in the fourth quarter, the Houston High School boys basketball team mounted an epic comeback and beat Newburg 38-37 on Tuesday night in Houston’s new gym.

The rally was fueled by a combination of long-range shooting, timely defensive plays and key free throws. Senior Hunter McKinney provided the shooting by draining a 3-pointer with 3:50 left to cut the deficit to 35-31 and drilling another trey to pull the Tigers within a point at 37-36 with 1:39 to go. Houston’s tenacious full-court defense forced the visiting Wolves to commit two crucial turnovers with less than a minute remaining, one at the 59-second mark and another with 8 seconds left. In between the turnovers, junior point guard Garyn Hall was fouled while shooting with 26 seconds to go and calmly made both free throws.

Newburg gained possession with time running out, but a desperation 3-point shot went in-and-out as the final buzzer sounded.

Both squads struggled to get their offenses going in the first half, as the score was tied at 5 after one quarter and knotted at 14 at the break.

HHS junior forward Harold Lassiter puts up a shot during the first quarter of the Tigers’ win over Newburg Tuesday night in Houston’s new gym.

The Wolves built a 28-23 lead by the end of the third period and enjoyed the 35-26 advantage when sophomore Colten Pound sank a 3-point shot with 5:27 left in the final period.

Junior forward Harold Lassiter had a breakout game for Houston, scoring a career-high 13 points and yanking down 11 rebounds. McKinney also hit a 3-ball in the first quarter and finished with 9 points, while Hall (playing for the first time since missing several games with an ankle injury) also scored 9.

Three players scored in double-figures for Newburg, as sophomore guard Dontae Harris had 11 points, while Colten Pound and his brother, senior forward Gunner Pound, had 10 apiece.

HHS junior guard Garyn Hall manuevers with the ball in a key full of defenders during the second quarter of the Tigers’ win over Newburg Tuesday night in Houston’s new gym.

Still getting used to a his team’s vastly different roster (as two key players are no longer with the team and senior Noah Gulick is sidelined with a knee injury), HHS head coach Jim Moore shuffled the lineup a bit and had McKinney start in the post for the first time.

After snapping a five-game losing streak, the Tigers (4-6) take on county rival Summersville Friday night (Jan. 7) and travel to Norwood on Tuesday. Houston’s first South Central Association conference game is set for Thursday (Jan. 13) at Mountain Grove.

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

Doug Davison

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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