HHS junior point guard Angie Smith drives past Hollister senior Gracie Jennings during the second half of the Lady Tigers' home win on Thursday. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor for most of the game, the Houston High School girls basketball team beat Hollister 60-29 Thursday night in Houston’s New Gym.

Houston’s offense clicked for most of the contest, as four Lady Tigers scored in double figures.

“We didn’t run a single play,” said head coach Lindsey Vermillion. “We just played basketball, which is what we need to do; moving the ball, looking for each other and constantly moving without the ball.

“A play is a backup plan; it’s there if we need it.”

Houston’s active defense and full-court press prevented Hollister from ever getting into a scoring rhythm. The Lady Tigers had the good outing despite dealing with sickness the entire week (practice was even canceled on Monday).

“You could tell we were a little winded more than usual on our press due to sickness and not being as strong as normal,” Vermillion said, “but we pushed through. I tried to call more timeouts than usual to give them a breather and conserve energy. I also tried to sub frequently.”

HHS senior forward Olivia Crites shoots from short range during the fourth quarter of the Lady Tigers’ win over Hollister Thursday in Houston’s New Gym.

Hollister held a 6-5 lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter after three buckets from short range by senior center Brisa Gere. But the visiting Lady Tigers didn’t score again in the period, as the host Lady Tigers scored 13 unanswered points to lead 18-6 at the end of the quarter.

Hollister hung around for a while in the second period, even cutting the deficit to 8 at one point. But fueled by full-court defensive pressure, Houston closed out the first half with a 10-0 run and led 36-15 at the break after senior guard Aliyah Walker stole the ball at midcourt and took it the other way for a layup with time running down.

The host Lady Tigers then scored the first 7 points of the third quarter and the rout was on.

Houston’s balanced scoring attack in the game was led by senior forward Olivia Crites and junior point guard Angie Smith with 13 points apiece, while senior forward Karlee Curtis had 12 and Walker added 10 (including two 3-pointers in the first half). The Lady Tigers also got a career-high 6 points from sophomore forward Sophia Crites and 5 points from senior guard Makenzi Arthur.

Smith was a force on both ends of the court throughout the contest, using both hands to distribute the ball in transition (and score) while also snatching 8 rebounds and recording 6 steals. Olivia Crites frequently battled inside with Gere and finished with a game-high 11 boards, while Gere sank a series of short and medium-range shots to top all scorers in the game with 17 points.

Houston senior guard Makenzi Arthur eyes the basket while being guarded by Hollister senior Brisa Gere.

Houston sank 10-of-15 free throws in the game, while Hollister went 5-for-7 from the stripe.

“I’m proud of the effort from my squad tonight,” Vermillion said, “now we just have to get healthy.”

Next up for the Lady Tigers (3-1) is a home game next Friday (Dec. 16) against Norwood.

“I want to point out my bench again,” Vermillion said. “They are constantly cheering, chanting and picking each other up. Coaching is more than the X’s and O’s. If you don’t have a team that is cheering on their teammates and picking each other up, the X’s and O’s are pointless.

“Success comes from team cohesion and coming together, and if we keep doing just that, we’re going to be just fine.” 

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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