Several key personnel losses struck the Glen Rose varsity boys basketball team in the off-season, so head coach Owen Clifton plans on having his players live up to their nickname, the Runnin' Tigers, for the 2017-2018 campaign, using a platoon system to stay fresh.
The Tigers’ top four scorers from last season — including three who graduated in May — are gone, and key rebounder Weston Rynders will have to miss his senior year because of a knee injury he suffered during a preseaacson practice.
Clifton said the Tigers also lost another senior, guard Kelton Barnard, who moved to Brady.
The Glen Rose boys are scheduled to open their season tonight (Friday, Nov. 17), at Springtown.
Rynders and Barnard were honorabale-mention all-district picks last season.
The Tigers will have seven seniors this season, including returning lettermen Logan Thames, a 6-1 forward, 6-0 guard, Adrian Lewis, guard Connor Hansen, plus 6-4 senior post Issac Emerson. Thames was another honorable-mention all-district selection.
Jett Gould, a 6-2 junior guard, and Kason Keese, a 6-0 sophomore shooting guard, and also will be counted on heavily in the mix.
Graduation took Ethan Hartman, a first-team all-district performer for the Tigers last season, and second-team all-district player Dietrick James. Hartman, James and Barnard were last year’s top three scorers.
The Tigers will have more help potentially coming from a pair of freshmen guards, Austin Worthen and Kolten Moone.
There should be additional help coming from last year’s junior varsity, which won almost 20 games.
“At least six (of them) will play a part this season,” Clifton said.
Clifton hopes to have the Tigers going fast and furious, frequently making substitutions to stay fresh, five at a time.
While height won’t be at a premium, the team could thrive on its overall speed and quickness.
“We will run a lot. We’ve got 12 guys that are all pretty similar,” Clifton said. “We’ll try to wear down opponents as much as we possibly can. The kids like to play that way (at high pace).
“Probably one of our best defenders is Connor Hansen. He is excellent defensively. Logan Thames will play a big role defensively as well. We’re just expecting getting better on offense and defense.”
The Tigers will be facing tough competition in District 8-4A, particularly from Midlothian Heritage, Waxahachie Life School and Stephenville as they compete for one of the four district playoff berths. The district also includes Alvarado, Godley and Venus.
“It’s going to be really tough for us,” Clifton said, but added, “We’ve definitely got a shot at it (the playoffs) if everything comes together. The players had a really good summer, and they have gotten a lot better.”