GLEN ROSE – Due to the Runnin’ Tigers’ habit of consistently allowing less talented opponents back into blowout games, Tuesday’s 56-51 win over Rio Vista should come as no surprise.
Six of Devin Crawford’s team-high 19 points helped to stretch the Glen Rose lead to 16 points early in the third quarter. But a fifth foul by way of an iffy technical foul –where the official ruled Crawford initiated contact on an Eagle, who was already driving the basket, after a whistle – assessed to the forward sent the leading scorer to the bench with 4:11 to play in the third.
Despite the 19-9 run over the final 8:14, the win never felt like it was in question. Glen Rose (22-9, 7-5 in 11-3A) is right where it needs to be heading into the final two games of the regular season.
A win on Friday against a Keene team that fell 46-26 to Hillsboro on Tuesday and the Runnin’ Tigers are playoff bound.
“It is very important for us to be in this position,” said Glen Rose Head Coach Owen Clifton following the crucial win. “The fact is that we will have no one else to blame but ourselves if we don’t get in or don’t get the position we want, because it is right out in front of us. It is plain and simple. Win the next two games and you get a third.”
Simple, yes, but if Glen Rose takes care of business on Friday at 4 p.m. on its home court against Keene, it will pick up its eighth 11-3A win and hand the Chargers their seventh loss. The win would make it mathematically impossible for Keene to jump the Runnin’ Tigers, regardless of how their regular season finale against Millsap plays out.
Lose and it is a three-way race between Glen Rose, Hillsboro and Keene for the final-two-playoff spots. We know for certain that Peaster and Brock are going to finish as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, but – after Brock handed Peaster its first 11-3A loss on Tuesday – the district champion has still yet to be decided.
With a third matchup against the Keene Chargers on deck, Clifton doesn’t think that the early tip or familiarity will favor either side.
“We just have to come out and play our game,” Clifton said. “We know what we have to do and we are just going to have to come out and execute. […] We didn’t play well the second time we faced them, but I don’t know that that is any benefit to us. It is a big game for us, but I feel like if we play to our potential then we are going to be fine.
“I thought we pushed the ball well tonight and we haven’t done that in a while. We also had a guy who didn’t play who has been a big spark and a big help for us. It would be nice to be at full strength on Friday.”
All eight Glen Rose players that checked into Tuesday’s win scored at least one-point on a night when the Runnin’ Tigers posted a 61-percent (22-36) mark on shots inside the three-point line.
There was an injury scare late in the fourth quarter when Tucker Garza was fouled hard on a transition layup and sent into the padded wall behind the Glen Rose goal. All reports after the game indicated the point guard was cleared and did not re-aggravate the right-wrist injury that forced the senior to miss two weeks of action prior to district play.
Tuesday’s coast home
It did not take long – 43 seconds actually – for Bailey Holder to add another highlight-reel block to his resume. Kyle Hall’s attempt at a layup in transition never had a chance.
Devin Crawford picked up where he left off Friday on the offensive end and scored four-straight points to snag an early lead for the Runnin’ Tigers.
Six seconds after he checked in to give Garza a breather, Brazos Overton put his name into the scoring column with a layup high off of the glass for the game’s fourth lead change in the opening quarter.
Seven-straight Glen Rose points followed – highlighted by a Crawford three from the top of the key – and built the Runnin’ Tigers lead to seven with 1:16 on the first-quarter clock.
The 14-5 lead Glen Rose carried into the second quarter was cut into on the Eagles first possession thanks to a Hall three pointer.
Two more Glen Rose points, a second Crawford three and a Garza finger roll followed the trey and gave the Runnin’ Tigers their first double-digit lead of the evening, 21-8 with well over five minutes to play in the first half.
Glen Rose’s lead built to 15 points prior to a short 6-0 Rio Vista run – capped by a Hunter Foust three at the buzzer – to end the first half.
The Runnin’ Tigers carried a 31-22 lead into the third quarter behind a game-high 12 from the right hand of Crawford and four points by Holder and Hartman, respectively.
It did not take long for Crawford to add four more points to his team-high and regain a double-digit advantage for Glen Rose.
Someone other than the Glen Rose forward was going to have to pick-up the scoring slack after Crawford was called for his fourth personal foul and sent to end of Clifton’s bench with 4:11 remaining on the third-quarter clock.
A second Hall three pointer with 2:36 on the clock cut the once 16-point lead to 10, 35-25.
Holder added a basket in the paint to give Glen Rose a 47-35 lead to take into the final eight minutes.
Four Glen Rose points and three for Rio Vista were all that fell over the first five minutes of the final frame.
With Glen Rose closing out the final minute and change, five-straight Rio Vista points capped by Anthony Rivera’s three pointer pulled the Eagles within five, 55-49 with 32.68 seconds to play.
Goebel knocked down one-of-his-two free throws to extend the lead to three possessions and put the Runnin’ Tigers one win from a playoff spot.
The Eagles added a virtually null layup to put a bow on the 56-51 Glen Rose win.
Outside of Crawford’s game-high 19 points and, in addition to his five rebounds and two steals, the Runnin’ Tigers posted one of their more evenly distributed nights of the season. Holder just missed another double-double with eight points and nine rebounds, Overton came off of the bench for seven points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting, and Garza and Hartman each added six points.
Goebel notched five points and two blocks on a night where he struggled mightily to find his rhythm from beyond the arc with an 0-for-5 showing, Cashion Klipfell accounted for four points and Layne McAnear added a free throw to round out the win.