GLEN ROSE — For the first time this season, Matthew Hammonds wasn’t in the starting lineup Friday night for the Runnin’ Tigers.
But he was on the floor at the end when the team needed him most as Glen Rose posted a thrilling 81-79 double-overtime victory over Hillsboro.
“Matt was in a slump over the past week and coming into this game, so we talked about changing things up,” Glen Rose boys basketball coach Owen Clifton said of keeping Hammonds out of the starting lineup. “But he was ready.”
The Tigers trailed by six with a minute left in regulation and Hammonds hit a triple, Worthen followed with a layup and Hammonds hit another trey as time expired to send the game into overtime tied at 59.
With five seconds left, the Tigers called timeout and drew up a play for Hammonds.
“He was the only option,” Clifton said. “Austin made a perfect inbounds pass and Kasen (Keese) set the best screen this year, and once he caught it that open, I think everyone in the building knew it was going in.”
Hammonds hit three more triples in the first overtime session, but Hillsboro hit a layup with 3.98 seconds left to second the game into the second overtime tied at 70-70.
The Tigers trailed by two with 30 seconds left in the second overtime, but Hammonds hit two free throws to tie the game at 79-79, and senior Kasen Keese won the game with a layup on a perfect pass from Kolton Mooney, who drove through the lane to deliver the dish, as time expired.
“I’ve watched it a few times, and it was an unselfish play. Not many on our team could make that pass. Mooney has great vision with the ball in his hands. It was a great find and a great finish by Kasen,” Clifton said.
“To have Matt and Kasen finish off the game like they did shows so much about those two because they were struggling over the last four games. It couldn’t have happened at a better moment and to the two players that needed it most. I’m proud of these guys and this team.”
Hammonds tied a school-record with seven 3-pointers with four of those coming in his 18 points in regulation. He scored 11 more on three more 3-pointers in the overtime sessions to finish with a season-high 29 points.
Caden Schinagel added 12 points and was a huge force in the middle with his shot-blocking ability. Mooney and Worthen added eight each, and Keese finished with seven.
“This is probably exactly what we needed after our tournament,” Clifton said. “As a coach, you get very proud of watching your players grow through the years, and these last games are great examples of executing down the stretch.”
In their 56-53 win over DeLeon on Tuesday night, Worthen drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win that game.
With the win over Hillsboro, the Tigers improve to 13-14 overall, and they will look to move to .500 on the season when they host Alvarado on Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m. at Tiger Arena.