Lady Tiger basketball got off to a slow start in Hico on Friday night, and the team’s mountain to climb proved to be too steep.
Glen Rose (13-4) fell behind 14-6 to Hico – the No. 19 team in the TABC 1A Div. I rankings – after one quarter and couldn’t quite come all the way back in a 64-52 loss.
“We didn’t shoot very well in the beginning,” Hill said. “You can’t get behind against a really good team like that. If we’d shot better early I think we’d have had a much better chance to win. Hico’s quickness really hurt us, especially in transition.”
Leading scorers for Glen Rose were Destiny Ponce (16 points, 2 rebounds, steal), Kayla Goebel (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals) and Madi Gibson (11 points, 6 rebounds, assist). Other scorers were Reilly Junge (6 points, rebound, 3 assists, 6 steals), Kelsey Potter (4 points, 4 rebounds, assist) and Ashlan Bernard (2 points, assist, 2 steals).
Hico got the ball to its post for its first four points, but as the quarter progressed the 1A Tigers showed off their shooting ability as well. After putbacks by Potter and Ponce, Junge hit a midrange jumper, but Hico scored the final five points of the first for the 14-6 advantage.
“We had to play catch-up the whole game because we got down so early,” Hill said. “We needed to make quicker adjustments on defense than we did.”
While Glen Rose picked up its offense in the second quarter, Hico kept going strong to lead 30-19 at halftime. Goebel essentially carried the visitors in the quarter with nine points – including a late wing three.
Junge made a steal and hit both free throws after she was fouled, but a Hico putback at the buzzer gave the momentum back to the hosts. Hico hit a trio of threes in the half, but also consistently scored in transition.
“They were raining threes against our zone and were really on their game (Friday),” Hill said. “Their coach does a great job of keeping you from doubling the post with their outside shooting. I thought Reilly did a really good job. We limit what she does in practice (due to her knee injury) and she played more minutes (Friday) and gave her all.”
Glen Rose was at its best to win the third quarter 17-16. Glen Rose showed some of the quality free throw shooting Hill has been searching for, as it made eight in a row at one point in the third – including four from Ponce.
“Several girls stepped up their free throw shooting and we’ve been talking about how important it is,” the coach said.
After trailing by 16 early in the third, Glen Rose worked the deficit down to 10 only to see Hico hit a three and covert an inbounds layup to quickly push the lead to 15.
“There were times when our press created steals and we’d cut into the lead, but we just couldn’t do it the whole game,” Hill said.
Gibson and Goebel each made late layups to enable the Glen Rose to win the frame, yet trail 46-36.
Glen Rose made its big push early in the fourth with threes from Ponce (2) and Gibson to get within four, as Hico called a timeout.
“Destiny is always playing against people bigger than she is and finding a way to produce,” Hill said. “I thought she ran the floor better in the second half. Madi played a great game.”
Unfortunately for the visitors, Hico came back out and hit a three followed by a putback. After a Glen Rose timeout, Hico completed a 9-0 run that included another putback and essentially won the game.
“We had a shot right there, and then it was boom, boom, boom for them to rebuild the lead,” Hill said. “It took the wind out of our sails. When you double down on their big girl, you leave somebody open and that helped them get a lot of offensive boards. We had trouble matching up defensively at times and they capitalized.”
Glen Rose missed some inside shots down the stretch, but Gibson finished strong with another three and then a pair of free throws.
Glen Rose will return to action on Thursday in Bryan for the McDonald’s All-Star Invitational.
“We can’t sit on the couch and eat potato chips for five days,” Hill said. “We have to be ready for the tournament. I think the girls understand that and they’ll take care of business.”