GLEN ROSE — As freshmen and sophomores, the Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers took there fair share of lumps, but three years later, they are ready to make a push at a district crown and make a deep run in the playoffs.
“The experience is everything for us,” Glen Rose boys basketball coach Owen Clifton said. “They are more confident now when they walk in the gym, and the game has slowed way down for them.”
The Tigers finished second in district play last year, and were ousted from the playoffs with a first-round loss to Krum, and that loss is still on the team’s mind.
“We saw last year that we could win and hang in the playoffs,” Clifton said. “We had an 11-point lead a halftime that we let slip away. I really think those kinds of losses fueled these guys all summer. I am hoping we will be pretty hungry this year.”
The Tigers graduated Jett Gould’s 9.2 points a game, but they return balanced scoring in Austin Worthen (9.2), Matthew Hammonds (8.4), Kolton Mooney (8.0), Kasen Keese (7.5) and Kanyon Keese (7.1).
“We are going to be pretty small at most positions, but yes, we are going to push the pace even more this year than we did last year year. Our motto this year is ‘Relentless.’ Honestly, our team slogan sums us up best, I think,” Clifton said.
“We will play fast. Offensively, we will shoot a lot of quick shots, and defensively, we will be trapping and gambling a lot more in the half court.”
The Tigers finished 18-17 overall last year, and Clifton hopes to see an improvement there now that a majority of the team has one more year of valuable varsity experience.
“The one thing that excites me about this team is everyone has a role and understands that role and is eager to win,” he said. “We will see multiple people have huge nights for us offensively. This is the deepest team I have had since I have been in Glen Rose. That is a large credit to the work they have put in over the last few years.”
The Tigers’ only two district losses came to Brownwood, and Clifton is expecting another hard-fought season in district play.
“We finished second last year in district, but every game was competitive,” he said. “Almost everyone is returning in the district, so I expect the same — a hard fight every night.”
The Tigers have a scrimmage at Graham on Saturday and then they have a multi-team home scrimmage on Tuesday beginning at 5 p.m. at Tiger Arena before opening the season Nov. 16 at Gatesville. Their home opener is Nov. 22 with Brock.