Lady Tiger basketball appears to be back on the upswing, if Thursday’s tournament action was any indication.
Glen Rose (15-4) took down Wortham 60-38 in its opener of the McDonald’s All-Star Invitational in Bryan, and played even better in a 50-40 victory over a Zavalla team that came in ranked No. 17 in the 1A Div. I TABC standings.
As for the Wortham game, Glen Rose was excellent in a 20-7 fourth quarter to pull away.
“Wortham had a big girl, but she really wasn’t a factor; the game was a little too fast for her,” said coach Sheree Hill. “I didn’t think we did a real good job defensively, but for the first game back from the holidays it wasn’t too bad. We still needed to block out better.”
Top scorers included Kayla Goebel (21), Destiny Ponce (13) and Kelsey Potter (10).
“Kayla got in foul trouble early and had to sit quite a bit of the first half, but she was getting to the hole for some easy buckets,” Hill said. “I didn’t realize she had that many points until after the game was over and I looked at the book. Destiny had to shoot from the elbow area against their big girl and she did that to get some buckets. She also drove around the girl a few times.
“Potter did a really good job of rebounding as she always does, plus she passed well. She got a couple of buckets from the baseline and also did a better job at the free throw line, which was good to see.”
Other scorers included Kate Goen (7), Shelby Rotan (5), Madison Morrow (3) and Reilly Junge (1).
“Kate did well,” Hill said. “She wasn’t intimidated by the big girl at all and played a good game. This was a game where everyone got nearly equal playing time. Reilly did a good job pushing the ball, but we rested her quite a bit in this game.”
After Glen Rose won the early quarters 13-7 and 21-13, it lost the third 11-6 before the big finish.
“We missed a lot of shots and had a lack of intensity in the third, especially on defense,” Hill said. “(Wortham) changed their press break and got some easy buckets off of it, so we had to make some adjustments.”
Zavalla had beaten Wortham earlier in the tourney, and Hill confirmed Zavalla was definitely a stronger foe.
“We forced their guards to shoot the ball, and a couple of them stepped up,” the coach said. “We guarded their 6’4” post front and back, which put us in some jeopardy rebounding the ball, but the kids played hard and strong to handle her while doing something we haven’t spent much time practicing.”
Junge had one of her best offensive games of the season with 21 points, including four three-pointers, as she played the whole game against Zavalla.
“With their big girl inside, we were forced to shoot from the outside,” Hill said. “Reilly was just hitting. She got on a streak and looked comfortable shooting the ball in this game, which is great to see. She and Shelby were working really hard to basically guard three of their perimeter players on their own.”
Other prime scorers were Goen (6), Potter (6) and Goebel (6).
“Kate has good experience and I always feel comfortable putting her in any situation because she’s seen it before,” Hill said. “She’s going in there and playing well.”
Other scorers included Madi Gibson (4), Ponce (4) and Rotan (3).
“Madi was at a huge size disadvantage against their post, but she did a great job and there was a streak there where she shut her down,” Hill said. “Madi battled her all the way and did great. Kayla and Destiny also battled against (the post) inside.”
The Lady Tigers won the first quarter 13-10, lost the second 9-7 and bounced back strong to take the third 18-9. They tied 12-12 in the fourth.
“At halftime it was 20-19, and we were actually behind until we really got after it and Reilly put us ahead with some free throws,” the coach said. “We talked about having to step up the intensity and pressure on their perimeter players with our press (in the third). Madi, Kayla, Reilly and Potter all had a good offensive quarter to help us build a lead.”
The Lady Tigers have an 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. tourney doubleheader on Friday, beginning with a stiff challenge against Mexia, which is ranked No. 4 in the 3A TABC standings.
“Hopefully this was a confidence builder as we go into our next game with Mexia, which is an exceptional team,” Hill said. “We’ll have to bring our A-game to stand a chance against their pressure. I expect it to be our toughest game of the season so far and that will be good for us.”