The squad from Houston won the 2022 Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3 District 1 Scholar Bowl Tournament last Saturday in Portageville.

Houston defeated Portageville 480-140 in the first round, Malden 550-50 in the second round and Arcadia Valley 470-180 in the third round. There was a possible 880 points in a game, as each matchup had 22 tossups and three-part bonuses worth 10 points each. 

After the preliminary rounds, the top four teams were seeded for the semifinals, with No. 1 Houston playing No. 4 Thayer and second-seeded Arcadia Valley facing No. 3 Portageville. Portageville defeated Arcadia Valley 440-90 and Houston defeated Thayer 560-160, setting up a rematch between Houston and Portageville in the final.

The Tigers then closed out their run to the district title with a 560-160 victory. The district championship is Houston’s fourth since 2016 and the fifth title in the program’s history.

Individual medals were given to the overall top 8 individual performers. Houston’s Ben Cook took second place and Andy Durham tied for third, while Devon Sawyer placed 10th and Alex Swallow finished 13th.

Houston was the only 3-0 team in the prelims and averaged 500 points a game, scoring 1,500 in those three rounds.

“We beat the No. 2 and No. 3 teams on our way to the 3-0 record, so we didn’t get an easy draw,” said HHS head coach Jason Pounds.

Arcadia Valley and Portageville each went 2-1 in the prelims, scoring 640 points in each round for an average of 213.33. Thayer was fourth at 1-2, also scoring 640 points. Other teams in the field were Licking, Puxico and Twin Rivers.

Nobody else scored over 480 points in the prelims.

“In other words, our average per game was higher than any of the 5th to 8th teams scored in three games,” Pounds said, “and we scored more than the No. 2 and  No. 3 teams combined during prelims. Then we had our biggest two games in the semifinals and final.”

Houston’s next match will be against Calvary Lutheran on Wednesday, April 20, in Jefferson City. It will be a best-of-three series, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Columbia on Friday, May 6.

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