GRANBURY - The Glen Rose boys basketball team stayed close with a strong Kennedale squad early, but the Tigers fell behind in the second quarter on the way to a 54-42 loss Tuesday night in their Class 4A bi-district playoff contest at Pirate Gym in Granbury.
The loss closed out the season for Coach Owen Clifton’s Tigers at 13-22. They had tied with Alvarado for the fourth and final playoff spot out of District 8-4A at 5-7, then won a play-in game to qualify for the playoffs.
Kennedale (23-9) advances to the area playoff round against Burkburnett.
Dietrick James was the top scorer versus Kennedale for Glen Rose with 23 points and Kelton Bernard was next, with eight. Tiger teammates Ty Smith and Ethan Hartman added four points each, and Weston Rynders added two.
The Tigers played Kennedale to a 12-12 score with just over a minute left in the opening quarter before the Wildcats began to pull away. The Wildcats led by 20 at one point, but the Tigers battled back to within 11 points early in the fourth quarter.
Clifton said he emphasized to his players that they had to avoid turnovers against Kennedale, which they mostly did early in the contest. But the Wildcats’ outstanding depth off the bench may have contributed even more to their win.
“We were right there with them, and I think we got a little tired,” Clifton said. “We had a bad second quarter. We forgot to block out. You can’t do that against that team.
“We were down 13 points in the second quarter, and we battled the whole time. We lost our focus and we dug ourselves a deep hole.”
The Tigers showed steady improvement through the season, Clifton noted.
“I thought we got so much better. We just have gotten better every week,” the coach said of the season perspective. “We had four must-win games late and we won every one of them. Every player got better, and that’s all you can ask.”
In their district playoff, the Tigers outscored Alvarado 6-2 in the final two minutes of their District 8-4A playoff game Friday night at Venus High School for a dramatic 49-45 triumph that earned the Tigers their ticket to the playoffs.
That battle was tight most of the way, and Glen Rose was facing a 23-18 deficit at halftime. The Tigers fell behind by nine points (27-18) by the 5:01 mark in the third quarter before battling back.
Down the stretch Friday, the Tigers’ intense press forced several Alvarado turnovers, and pulled away from the tie at 43-all and again at 45-45.
James buried four of four free thows during that final two-minute span.
Junior teammate Adrian Lewis made a short field driving to the basket off an assist from James with 40 seconds left that broke the 45-45 tie and gave the Tigers the lead for good, before James sank his final two free throws with just two seconds left in the game.
The win over Alvarado closed out the Indians’ season at 11-21.