Tigers' basketball season ends after loss to Cougars

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Mountain Home's Marcus Egusquiza beats Caldwell's George Tarlas for the jump ball to start the district game last week at Mountain Home High School. The Tigers led for three quarters before the Cougars chipped away at that lead in the final minutes of the second half.

The Mountain Home Tigers basketball team played three solid quarters against the visiting Caldwell Cougars. Enjoying the home field advantage in Lloyd Schiller Gymnasium, the Tigers entered the district game with a goal of returning to the state finals for the second straight year.

Hot shooting on the outside early in the game allowed the Tigers to hold onto a 10-point lead through 24 minutes of play. However, the Cougars mounted a last-minute offensive that gave them a narrow lead late in the final quarter.

As the seconds ticked away, cold shooting and foul troubles plagued the Tigers, allowing Caldwell to take the lead and finish the district contest, 66-57.

The Tigers roared into the scoreboard early in the game, sinking multiple three-point shots to post an 11-point lead before the Cougars were able to get onto the scoreboard with 3:57 left in the first quarter. The Tigers widened their lead to 10, finishing the quarter with an 18-8 advantage.

Mountain Home continued to lead the game throughout the second half, holding onto that 10-point advantage with Caldwell unable to gain any traction. The Tigers entered the locker room at the half with a 33-23 lead.

Hot shooting on the inside allowed the Tigers to extend their lead to 16 points with 4:37 left in the third quarter. That's when the Cougars retaliated and brought the deficit down to nine with 1:17 left on the clock. However, Mountain Home regained a 12-point advantage after three quarters.

With eight minutes remaining in the game, Caldwell slowly began chipping away at the Tigers' lead. They narrowed the gap to nine with five minutes left in the game and got within five with 3:45 on the clock.

The Cougars took their first lead of game two minutes later. With less than a minute to go in regulation play, the Tigers ran into foul problems that cost them dearly. Caldwell then took advantage of free throws to put the game out of reach for Mountain Home.

The Tigers finished the regular season at 12-9. The loss last week meant the end of the Tigers' post-season plans. They faced an uphill struggle following a first-round loss to Skyview, 33-41, Feb. 20.

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