Playing two games in two nights to begin this week, the Houston High School girls basketball team won once and lost once.
The win came in the Lady Tigers’ first South Central Association matchup of the season, as they prevailed in a road game at Mountain Grove on Monday, 48-40. The loss occurred Tuesday in Houston’s new gym, as Newburg downed the home team 49-40.
Playing cohesively on both ends of the floor throughout most of the contest at Mountain Grove, the Lady Tigers dominated the action in the first half and led 28-14 at the break before the young Lady Panthers squad managed to reduce the deficit in the second half.
Junior forward Olivia Crites led Houston’s offense by scoring a game-high 19 points, tossing in 11 in the first half and 8 more in the fourth quarter, while going 5-for-5 at the free throw line. Two other Lady Tigers scored in double-figures, as junior guard Aliyah Walker sank two 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 12 points, while senior guard Hannah Dzurick added 10.
Freshman forward Raylee Stenzel led Mountain Grove in scoring with 11 points, while junior forward Reagan Hoerning had 9, sophomore guard Campbell Welch had 7 and sophomore guard Kaily Wake added 6.
SIX IS ENOUGH
Newburg came to Houston with only six players, but that turned out to be plenty.
The contest featured lots of contact from the opening tip to the final horn, as the Lady Wolves continuously bodied-up to the Lady Tigers on both ends of the floor.
The two teams matched each other evenly in the first half, trading baskets and short scoring runs on the way to an 18-all tie at the break. Newburg then got a bit of an edge and led 34-28 at the end of the third period, and increased the advantage by another 3 points in the fourth.
The Lady Wolves started fast and were ahead 6-0 after senior forward Claire Affolter sank two foul shots with 4:40 left in the first quarter. But Houston responded with an 8-0 run and took the lead when Crites made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining in the period.
The Lady Tigers led 16-12 after sophomore guard Angie Smith hit an 8-foot shot from the left baseline with 2:30 to go in the second quarter, but Newburg then scored 6 unanswered points and held an 18-16 advantage with 52 second showing. With only 3 seconds left in the half, Crites grabbed and offensive rebound and connected on a put-back shot from the middle of the lane to knot the score at halftime.
Crites led Houston’s balanced scoring in the game with 9 points, while Smith, Walker and junior guard Katie Jo Chipps each had 6. Dzurick and junior forward Karlee Curtis scored 5 points apiece for the Lady Tigers, while junior guard Maddy Riley nailed a 3-ball in the fourth period and finished with 3.
Affolter led Newburg in scoring with 19 points, while sophomore guard Halle Roach had 10 and sophomore forward Mary Rosa added 9. The Lady Wolves were ranked sixth in the most recent Class 2 poll.
The games on back-to-back nights came only a few days after the Lady Tigers played four games in four days at the annual Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament.
Houston (8-4, 1-0 SCA) plays Saturday in the Van Buren Shootout and will hit the road next week for SCA contests Monday at Thayer and Thursday (Jan. 13) at Liberty.
The Lady Tigers will not play on their home floor again until they host Ava on Feb. 3.
To view a photo gallery from the Lady Tigers’ game against Newburg (with the option to purchase photos), click here.