A slow start proved to be the downfall for the Mountain Home Lady Tigers on Friday as they lost to Kuna, 59-44, in conference basketball at Lloyd Schiller Gymnasium in Mountain Home.
After an opening basket by Jacci Cristobal gave Mountain Home a 2-0 lead with 6:33 left in the first quarter, the Lady Tigers did not score again until Cristobal made one of two free throws with 1:40 remaining in the quarter -- a span of nearly five minutes. Cristobal's free throw made it 11-3, Kuna. The Lady Kavemen led 16-5 after a quarter.
Although Mountain Home played with the Lady Kavemen pretty much even the rest of the game --Kuna had a slight 43-39 edge over the final three quarters -- the Lady Tigers were never able to mount any kind of a rally until the final minute and a half when they went on a 7-0 run to whittle a 22-point deficit down to 14, at 59-44, at the end of the game.
Mountain Home Coach Brent Kenner thought the team's overall effort was not enough to overcome the slow start.
"It started out in that first half, but we just didn't have the effort. To dig yourselves a big hole like that and try to battle back, it's tough. We've just got to play better. They got fast breaks all night on us, even after made baskets."
Selena Foster and Jacci Cristobal both scored 13 points to lead Mountain Home. Madi Karst added five points, Tessa Pachner and Mattie Bennett both scored four, Marissa Streeter and Tracey Gordon scored two each and Whitney Sandberg closed out the scoring with one point.
Mountain Home shot a frigid 20 percent from the field, hitting just two of 12 three-point shots. They shot 67 percent from the free-throw line.
Kuna shot 40 percent from the field, though managed just one of 10 long balls. They shot 73 percent from the free-throw line.
Mountain Home won the board battle, 40-35, with Selena Foster bringing down 13 rebounds. Tessa Pachner had 10.
The Lady Tigers drop to 5-10 in conference and 5-14 overall.
They closed out their regular season schedule Tuesday evening against Middleton.
Coach Keener was hoping for a good effort against the Lady Vikings to give them some momentum heading into the district tourney, which starts Saturday.
"Hopefully, we can be competitive and maybe get a little confidence back before district."
The Lady Tigers will have the sixth seed going into Saturday's District III 4A opener, and will play at the site of the number three seed, which was undetermined at press time, but will probably be Skyview.