Tiger basketball really hit its stride in Thursday afternoon's contest, and that was bad news for Early.
Glen Rose (5-3) totally dominated the middle quarters and cruised late to drill Early 62-31 in the Luminant/Glen Rose Lions Club Tournament opener for both squads.
"I was really pleased, especially with our second half," said coach Wayne Roberts. "We made a few mistakes in the first half that let them keep it a little closer than it needed to be. I was especially pleased with how we shared the ball and spread our scoring. Everybody got to play who was healthy and I'm tickled to death with the team effort."
Ben Coppock led the way with 13 points, but he had plenty of help from Curry Mapes (8), Hayden Bach (8), Hayden Holder (8), Stetson Overton (6), Jeffery Harris (6), Colton Bretton (5), Justin Potter (4), Cody Burtscher (2) and Justin Weatherley (1).
"We shot the ball a lot better than we did Tuesday, which made a big difference," said Mapes. "Our defense created easy buckets off fast breaks, too. Plus, (Early) didn't have anybody big inside to handle Ben and Colton."
The Tigers jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first with Bach and Coppock each making multiple hoops, but Early struck back with a 13-2 run and Glen Rose led just 14-13 after one.
"We started off great and then let them get back in it," Roberts said. "We had some missed assignments to give them easy baskets. We dropped back into our half-court defense the rest of the way and did well. (Bach) did well shooting early and with his passing."
In the second quarter, the Tigers left Early in the dust with an 18-1 frame. Bach and Overton each hit threes, while Overton found Coppock for an alley-oop layup. Coppock also hustled for a putback after his own missed free throw.
"Stetson continues to get offensive rebounds, which give us more chances to score," Roberts said. "I hold him to a high standard and he did a nice job. We rebounded well and passed well off of that so we could execute."
Mapes managed to knock down a long jumper at the halftime buzzer for a 32-14 lead.
"That seemed like the first real good shot that's come off my hand this year; thanks to Colton for hitting me when I was wide open," Mapes said. "The second quarter was about teamwork, plus we were rebounding and not giving them turnovers for easy points. We got back on defense."
The Tigers kept up their offensive roll to win the third quarter 18-9. Harris and Overton made threes, and then late in the third Mapes buried a couple of threes while Overton was sharp with two steals and two assists.
"Those are my spots that I work on in practice each day," Mapes said. "We were all on (from long range) and hopefully we can keep it going through this tournament."
Roberts was pleased with Mapes' play.
"Curry can shoot like that, plus he can handle the ball and pass well," the coach said. "His game is coming around and for all of our football guys, I'm pleased with how they've improved just by playing games (as opposed to practices). Early tried to take away our inside game and a number of guys hit outside shots. Stetson was anticipating on defense and then helping us convert his steals into easy baskets."
After the early moments of a fourth quarter Glen Rose won 12-8, the starters sat for good. Holder drained consecutive threes of Mapes assists, and then Potter made a three down the stretch.
"Hayden is just a sophomore, and he'll continue to get better as the year goes on," Roberts said. "It's good to see so many guys have success when they get in the game."
The Tigers return to the court tonight at 9 p.m.