Nine games into the 2018-19 season, the Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers are 7-2 after their latest 56-35 boys basketball victory over Eastland on Tuesday night at Tiger Arena.

However, they will face their toughest test to date when they tee it up at the Glen Rose Lions Club Tournament this weekend.

“I’m excited to see what we have in our tournament because it’s loaded,” Glen Rose boys basketball coach Owen Clifton said. “I want to see us get better and be sharper and come out with some wins. We’re going to play four really good opponents. It’s going to be interesting to see our fortitude.”

The Tigers were scheduled to play Life Oak at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and then cap the night with an 8:30 p.m. meeting with Graford. On Friday, the Tigers were to will battle Johnson City (Red Gym) at 11:10 a.m. On Saturday (Dec. 8), the Tigers will play Benbrook at 10:20 a.m. (Red Gym), and a second game Saturday will be determined on seeding from the four pool-play games. 

“I think offensively we’re playing good, but I’d like for us to be a little more locked in,” Clifton said. “It’s still early in the season, but we’re getting there.”

In the win over the Mavericks on Tuesday night, the Tigers lived on the 3-pointer by connecting on 11 from behind the arc while hitting just nine 2-point shots.

“We took great shots. We passed up a decent shot for an even better shot, and that’s why those go,” Clifton said. “It was good to see. I thought we shot the ball really well.”

It took the Tigers some time though to shake the Mavericks. With the game tied at 10-10 with just under two minutes left in the first quarter, Matthew Hammonds and Parker Simmons drilled back-to-back trifectas to give the Tigers a 16-12 lead at the end of the quarter. 

After Kolton Mooney hit a jumper to increase the lead to 18-12, Kanyon Keese hit back-to-back triples and Gould dropped one to widen the margin to 15 at 27-12. 

The Mavericks, who scored just three points in the quarter, didn’t get their first points in the frame until the 3:53 mark. Mooney drilled a 3-ball with 1:20 left in the half, increasing the Tiger lead to 20 for the first time in the game at 35-15. 

“I thought we did a good job getting our hands in the passing lanes,” Clifton said. “We made it tough for them.”

Kasen Keese and Mooney led the Tigers with 12 points each. Mooney had three 3-pointers in the game as did Kanyon Keese (9 points), while Hammonds had two (6), both coming in the first quarter. Simmons (5), Kasen Keese and Gould (5) had one each. 

The Tigers converted on 11 of 28 from behind the arc (39.3 percent) and 9 of 21 inside the arc (42.9 percent), while connecting on 5 of 7 foul shots.