GLEN ROSE — One game doesn’t make or break a season, but one game can certainly define a team, and Tuesday’s 58-54 season-opening victory over Lampasas was just that for the Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers.
The youthful Tigers won just 11 games last year, but with a year under their belts, they showed poise beyond their years in holding off the scrappy Badgers at Tiger Arena.
“I told the boys they earned this win with the work they put in during the spring, summer and fall,” Glen Rose boys basketball coach Owen Clifton said. “We look like a completely different team than from last year, and hopefully we’re able to build off of that. We had a lot of poise for sophomores, and I think we can continue to build and get better.”
The Tigers held a 17-point lead with seven minutes to go, but over the next four minutes, they went 1 for 4 from the field and turned the ball over on four consecutive trips down the floor, and Lampasas tied the score at 51-51 with 2:46 left in the game.
Glen Rose’s Jett Gould broke the drought with a bucket with 2:33 left to give the Tigers the lead for good at 53-51. The Badgers scored just three points the rest of the way, and the Tigers got a huge 3-pointer from sophomore Matthew Hammond and two big free throws from Kasen Keese to keep the Badgers at bay.
“You hate giving up a lead like that, but we clamped down when we needed to,” Clifton said. “The pressure got to us a little bit toward the end.”
The Tigers scored 10 points in each of the first two quarters and led 20-12 at the half. Then things heated up offensively in the third and fourth quarter when the Tigers built their much-needed 17-point advantage.
Hammond went nuts from the 3-point line by dropping five from behind the arc in the third quarter alone en route to a game-high 25 points.
In all, five of the Tigers’ first six baskets in the 24-point quarter were from downtown — four from Hammond and one from Gould. Hammond’s trifecta with 4:36 left in the quarter increased the Tiger lead to 16.
Hammond hit a triple to end the third quarter, and then knocked down another to open the fourth to give the Tigers the 17-point advantage, and then they hung on for dear life.
Behind Hammond’s 25, Gould and Keese recorded 13 points each for the Tigers.
Glen Rose is back in action Saturday morning at 11 a.m. when it hosts Springtown at Tiger Arena for a varsity game only.