The Mountain Home Tigers continue to show improvement and glimpses of what they are capable of doing -- but through 15 games that still has not brought any victories.
Friday night was another example. They led the Kuna Kavemen in all four quarters but let the game slip away in the final three minutes, losing 49-39.
The Tigers came out in a patient, ball-control offense that frustrated Kuna. The result was a 13-4 lead for Mountain Home after a quarter.
Kuna rallied to tie the game at 20-20 late in the second quarter, but Michael Daniels hit two free throws with 39 seconds left in the half to put the Tigers back up, 22-20, at halftime.
Mountain Home lost the lead early in the third quarter, but battled back to lead 27-24 with 4:30 left in the quarter, before a 12-4 run by Kuna put the Kavemen up 36-3, going into the fourth quarter.
Mountain Home had a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take the lead, 38-36, with 3:05 left. They then lost Michael Daniels to fouls with 2:57 left and were outscored, 13-1, the rest of the way to lose to the Kavemen, 49-39.
"The kids played hard, they gave it their all," said Tigers basketball coach Brion Bethel after the game. "We just didn't execute well at times, but the kids worked hard and gave everything they had. I'm so proud of the boys, they played with composure, and I tell you what, they're getting better.
"Even though we have an older team, they're not that experienced, especially in pressure situations," he added. "We missed some free throws there at the end that could have sealed the game for us, and we turned the ball over three times at the end that were just unforced turnovers (and) we let the ball go through our hands for an easy layup. We got everything we wanted (but) we couldn't finish on the plays we needed."
Michael Daniels led the Tigers with a season-high 12 points before fouling out with 2:57 left.
Cristian Riedel scored six points, Jeremy Hopper five, Jose Rodriguez four, Brandon Reyes three and Tyler Elliott had two points.
The loss drops the Tigers to 0-11 in conference and 0-15 on the season.
The Tigers take on Middleton at home today, Jan. 30, and travel to Emmett on Friday.
"We've got five games remaining and we've got five winnable ball games," said Coach Bethel. "I told the kids tonight before the game (Kuna) we've got no excuses, we have to come out and get a win. I know they can do it. I believe in them 100 percent. I've got nothing but faith in the guys and I love them to death, cause they're working hard and giving their everything, and I love their composure. We've got a good bunch of kids."