First-year Glen Rose High School girls basketball head coach Ramsey Ghazaal reached a spectacular career milestone on Jan. 3, and it fittingly came in a spectacular location.
Ghazal recorded the 400th victory of his varsity coaching career Tuesday night as his Lady Tigers defeated Princeton, 38-32, in American Airlines Center — the home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
In his 17 seasons as a head basketball coach — all with girls teams — Ghazal’s overall record is 400-83.
Ghazal, who came to Glen Rose after several seasons coaching Wichita Falls Rider’s girls, will receive a milestone plaque from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, marking the achievement.
A representative of the TABC said that only 24 other girls basketball coaches in Texas have 400 or more career victories.
“I’m just very fortunate to have been able to coach a lot of talented kids who also are very committed to making their teams great, kids who accept their roles and want to be coached,” Ghazal stated Thursday.
Ghazal added that he was “blessed to have been in communities and schools who support our athletic programs and have the same mutual vision of success.”
The Lady Tigers play their home games in a beautiful, relatively new and modern facility, Tiger Arena, which seats approximately 2,000 spectators. The AAC is just a bit larger — seating 20,000.
Although the AAC was largely empty, both Glen Rose and Princeton had excellent turnout from their respective communities for their contest. Ghazal said he has taken several other teams to play on the Mavericks’ home court in years past.
The size of the NBA venue can be a distraction for some players, and the deeper background sometimes can have a negative effect on shooting. Then there is the factor of being a little nervous that can come into play — even though the afternoon crowd mostly consists of family and friends from the respective high schools.
“I’ve seen some teams completely take themselves out of the game,” Ghazal said, noting also that the lane is wider and the 3-point line is farther away than those in high school gyms. “On offense, I told them not to pay attention to the 3-point line. Several girls hit long jump shots, which would probably have been 3s for high school. It’s a big environment, and it’s a neat court.”
Against Princeton, Jaylan Smith led the Lady Tigers with nine points and Hailey Ibarra scored eight. Teammate Collie Keller had a team-high 10 rebounds and three steals.
Ghazal said the Lady Tigers didn’t have a good game at the free throw line, particularly in the fourth quarter when they missed 15 chances.
“Princeton was making their free throws, so you can’t really blame the gym,” Ghazal said. “They’re a good team. We did good things on defense. The girls had fun. It was a new experience.”
Princeton is a large Class 4A school located northeast of Dallas, between McKinney and Farmersville. The two schools agreed to play at the AAC in connection with an annual program offered by the Mavericks’ organization that allows high school teams to play there several times each year.
The game was played in the afternoon, a few hours before the Mavericks defeated the Washington Wizards, 113-105 later that night. A high school boys basketball game between Burkburnett and Muenster was also played there that afternoon.
The Lady Tigers had been ranked among the top 15 teams in the state earlier this season before their two district setbacks, to Godley and Stephenville.