By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
INGOMAR – Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald lost five starters and his top two subs from last season.
That’s OK. The veteran coach likes what he’s seeing from his new lineup.
Lewis Moore, a junior, scored 20 points and three others – Tyreque Reed, Dillon Easley and Jesse Kelly – scored 11 points each Tuesday to lead the Wildcats to a 71-63 victory over Ingomar in Class 1A non-division hoops battle.
“They’re improving every day we go on the floor,” McDonald said. “When we first started, they didn’t know their roles. Now, they’re beginning to learn.”
Houlka (7-4), which connected on 11 of 12 free throws in the second half, used an 8-0 run midway in the fourth quarter to break open a tie game.
The final basket of the scoring spurt, a layup by Easley with 2 minutes, 7 seconds remaining, gave Houlka a 63-55 lead.
Ingomar (6-6) cut the lead to 65-61 on two free throws by Henry Foster, but got no closer.
“We didn’t play good defense. We gave them a lot of wide-open looks,” Ingomar first-year coach Jonathan Ashley said. “The few looks we got, we missed.”
Devonte Williams and Laquain Foster scored 17 points each for Ingomar. Henry Foster added 14.
The Falcons defeated Houlka 56-49 on Nov. 29 in the South Pontotoc Tournament. The two non-division teams play next Tuesday at Houlka.
The teams battled to a 33-33 deadlock in the first half.
(G) Ingomar 35, Houlka 28: Hannah Russell and Amy Fooshee sank two free throws apiece in the final 20 seconds to help the Lady Falcons hold off Houlka.
The Lady Wildcats missed on three consecutive trips down the court in the final two minutes.
Reid Little and Mallory Adair led Ingomar (5-7) with 10 points each. Shainece McKinney led Houlka (4-7) with a game-high 12.