Basketball is still in the early season and that allows mobility to schedule some crowd pleasing games before division starts.
Houlka and Houston took advantage of the timing to schedule a county match that brought a near-capacity crowd to the Houlka gym Nov. 19.
The Lady Hilltoppers started off the evening, dominating the Lady Wildcats from the outset and cruising to a 66-20 win. Houston coach Vernessa Gates rotated her players with Laura Beth Nichols leading in points at 11. Houlka’s Tyesha Atkinson led the Lady Wildcats with six.
The boys game proved more exciting as both team missed their opening shots, then settled down to play ball. Lewis Moore’s steal turned into a bucket by Dillon Easley and the Cats while Houston dropped on Chase Eldridge in the post for a duece to get things going.
The Wildcats led 13-11 at the close of the first quarter, but the Toppers came back, opening the second with Jay Jay Jones’ steal turning into a trey for Houston’s Rodger Pratt and a one-point lead for the Toppers.
The teams see-sawed back and forth through the half until Houlka’s Tyreque Reed got a put back and steal to the hole, combined with Craig Peden’s shot from the line that put the Wildcats up by five at the break.
The Toppers drew within two on Jones’ duece, but the Wildcats extended their lead on Titus White’s steal and bucket and the Houlka boys lead by seven to start the fourth.
Houlka led by as much as 18 in the fourth but the Houston boys cut it to 13, taking a 64-51 loss in non-division play.
Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald said he thought the game was a nice entrance to the early season for his Wildcats.
“They were really good on defense, especially in the third and Titus (White) got hot hands tonight,” McDonald said. “They all played pretty solid. We had two bad games and had a different defense tonight.”
From the girl’s side, McDonald said they are experiencing growing pains.
“They’re going to have to work for everything,” McDonald said. “The have no ‘go-to’ in the post.”
The Wildcats dropped both games to Myrtle Nov. 22 at Homecoming and were scheduled to be back on the floor Tuesday hosting South Pontotoc.