Houston coach Jim Moore said fatigue cost his team in its home opener.
After cutting a double-digit deficit to seven points at the half, the Lady Tigers couldn’t close the gap in the second half Monday as they lost 52-39 to Licking.
“I thought we got a little tired in the second half,” Moore said. “This is our second game and their fifth game –– and I think you can tell. We fought hard but we ran out of gas.”
The Lady Tigers were also facing a strong team.
Licking, who beat HHS to win last year’s district championship, improved to 5-0 to start the season.
“They are a very good ballclub,” Moore said. “They have really good guards and enough post play to keep you honest.”
Senior Kaitlyn Root scored 21 points to lead the Lady Tigers (0-2). Ally Morgan had eight, Sevanna Rowland added six and Chloe Hunninghake scored four as the only other players to score.
Karlee Holland led Licking with a game-high 27 points.
While Moore said his team needs more offensive production from its guards, he was most disappointed in the lack of rebounding.
“Against a good team like Licking, you can’t give them second and third opportunities,” he said. “We did that.”
It was 9-9 early when Licking went on a quick 7-2 run to end the first quarter. After a Rowland jumper, a 12-4 advantage built the Licking lead to double figures.
PHOTOS: HHS Lady Tigers vs. Licking
The Houston Lady Tigers host Licking in their home opener. (Photos by Jeff McNiell) // Order a digital download ($5) or print ($10) by contacting the Herald at 417-967-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licking made six first-half 3-pointers –– three by Holland –– to build a lead it never relinquished.
“Our rotations were a little slow and give them credit, they knocked down the shots,” Moore said. “If they don’t make half of those, it’s totally different.”
Moore said he anticipates potential early-season struggles as players step into new roles for his team.
“We have to replace five players that dominated playing time last year,” Moore said. “I think the longer the season goes, the more comfortable they will get. I think you’ll start to see some of those open shots go down and us attack.”
JUNIOR VARSITY: Jaden Stell and Madison Curtis scored six points apiece in the JV Lady Tigers’ 26-23 loss Monday to Licking. Stell had two 3s.
Licking 16 14 10 12 –– 52
Houston 11 12 5 11 –– 39
HOUSTON (39) –– Kaitlyn Root 21. Sevanna Rowland 6. Ally Morgan 8. Chloe Hunninghake 4. FG 12. FT 14-19. F 20. (3-pointers: Hunninghake. Fouled out: none).
Licking 4 7 8 7 –– 26
Houston 3 4 12 4 –– 23
HOUSTON (23) –– Madison Curtis 6. Kelly Hubbs 5. Jaden Stell 6. Kennedy Campbell 2. Danielle Walker 4. FG 8. FT 3-5. F 13. (3-pointers: Stell 2, Hubbs, Walker. Fouled out: none).