TOLAR — The Glen Rose Lady Tigers seemed on their way to earning their first regional basketball playoff berth since 1992 Tuesday night against 10th-ranked Stephenville.
But the 24-7 Honeybees, who had beaten the third-place Lady Tigers twice in District 8-4A play, weren’t going to concede that possibility in their Class 4A regional quarterfinal playoff game at Rattler Gym, eliminating Glen Rose by a 35-32 margin with a tough defensive performance.
After leading Stephenville by nine points in the first half, the Lady Tigers ran into problems scoring in the second half — going without a field goal for the final 8:41 of the game. The Lady Tigers led 31-23 with 41 seconds left in the third quarter, when Ally Andress made a basket and completed a three-point play with a free throw.
But the Lady Tigers didn’t score again until Hailey Ibarra made a free throw for Glen Rose with 13 seconds left in the game. But by then it was too late, after the Honeybees had outscored the Lady Tigers with a 9-0 run to pull away from the 31-31 tie they were in with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
“The kids played really hard,” Ghazal said, “I really felt we outplayed them for most of the game. We struggled to score in the fourth quarter and that got us.”
The Lady Tigers will lose seniors Jaylan Evans, Sonya Garcia and Brittany Watson to graduation. The roster includes three juniors and five sophomores, along with Ibarra, a freshman who became a key contributor off the bench.
“We have a young team that will be back in this scenario next season and can learn from this,” Ghazal said. “That being said, this was such a great group to coach. They grew so much throughout the season. They gave maximum effort, and as a coaching staff that’s all we can ask for. We will dearly miss our three seniors. Thanks for all the time and effort they gave to our program.”
A win over their District 8-4A foes from Stephenville would have sent the Lady Tigers (27-9) to the regional tournament for the first time since 1992. Stephenville will take on Levelland Friday at Lubbock Christian University in the first round of the regional tournament. The the winner of that game will move into Saturday's regional final, one win from qualifying for the state tournament in San Antonio.
The top scorers in the Stephenville game were Andress with nine points, Logan Smith with eight and Hailey Ibarra with seven. Next were Jaylan Evans and Sydney Lozier, with three points each.
The Lady Tigers had advanced to that regional quarterfinal game with a 63-54 win over 20th-ranked Burkburnett in their area playoff game played at Jacksboro High School.
The Glen Rose Lady Tigers overcame an early 3-point shooting barrage by the Lady Bulldogs.
Ally Andress was the top scorer for the Lady Tigers Thursday with 17 points and Logan Smith scored 15. Also for Glen Rose, Jaylan Evans scored nine, Ibarra had seven, and Presley Grace and Sydney Lozier added five points each.
Andress had a team-high 11 rebounds. Ibarra had 10 rebounds, all on defense.
“I’m just really proud of my team, for playing great,” Smith said. “We just all pitched in.”
The Lady Tigers shot 49 percent from the field overall. The Lady Bulldogs made 11 of 33 baskets from 3-point range while Glen Rose hit 2 of 11.
Glen Rose outscored Burkburnett 21-14 at the free throw line.
Burkburnett, which entered with only three losses and was District 6-4A champion, closed its season with a 23-4 record.
The Lady Tigers trailed the Lady Bulldogs 23-16 at the end of the opening quarter when Burkburnett’s outside shooters were red-hot. Burkburnett made six of its first eight 3-point shot attempts in the game, but recorded just one in the second quarter.
But the Lady Tigers roared back, tying the game at 28 with about 2:30 left in the second quarter, and taking a 30-29 lead with 2:30 to go before halftime. They outscored Burkburnett 15-8 in the second quarter.
The Lady Tigers then outscored the Lady Bulldogs 16-11 and 16-12 in the final two quarters.