GLEN ROSE — What a difference a year makes.
Late last year, the Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers were on the outside of the playoffs looking in and hoping for help to get there. It never happened.
A year later, the Tigers, following their 59-41 drubbing over Stephenville on Tuesday night, finished second in District 7-4A and have a ton of momentum heading into the Class 4A playoffs that open Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. when they meet Krum at Weatherford High School.
“Last year, we were trending the other way, and that’s what I told the boys,” Glen Rose boys basketball coach Own Clifton said. “(I reminded them) what it was like last year and to be trending down, and now we’re trending up, so let’s use that momentum moving forward.”
The Tigers enter the game with the Bobcats having won four of their last five games, while Krum (12-17, 4-4) has lost four of their last six.
“The kids are excited. They know they are playing well, and we’re playing our best basketball right now. Is that enough to get us over the hump in the first round? I don’t know,” Clifton said. “As a coach, all you want is to be playing your best basketball.”
Sophomores Kanyon Keese and Austin Worthen led the Tigers with 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Brady Taylor added seven, and Matthew Hammonds, Collin Dunson and Jett Gould added six points each in the win over Stephenville.
The game was tied at 10-10 with 2:35 left in the first quarter before Stephenville finished the quarter on a 7-1 run to lead by six.
The Tigers got back-to-back triples from Worthen, who had three in the game, and Keese, who also had three, to whittle the lead to two at 19-17 with 6:51 left in the half. Over the next four minutes, the Tigers managed just two points and trailed by four before a barrage in the last 2:29 gave them the lead for good.
Hammond nailed consecutive 3-balls to tie the game 25, and Worthen buried another to give the Tigers their first lead since the five-minute mark of the first quarter. Drew Dunson completed the Tigers’ 11-2 run with a pair of free throws to up the Tiger lead to 30-25 at the break.
After Stephenville (11-17, 4-4) drew within three early in the quarter, the Tigers had an 11-1 run, fueled by five points from Keese, to lead 41-28 with four minutes left in the third.
The Jackets cut the lead to four again with 7:30 left in the game, but the Tigers responded with a 9-4 run to take the lead to 11 with 2:40 left. Stephenville managed just two points the rest of the way.
“I wasn’t too upset that we were down because I knew it would start to come around and we would get the shots that we wanted,” Clifton said. “We were getting good looks and they weren’t going in. The second quarter, they started going in, and they kept going in the rest of the game.”
The Tigers are hosting a playoff preview on Saturday at Tiger Arena with four games: Dublin vs. Crawford (noon); Priddy vs. Life (1:30 p.m.); Caldwell vs. Tolar (3 p.m.); and Glen Rose vs Iredell (4:30 p.m.).