Tiger basketball was the better team most of the way on Friday against Palmer in the Godley Tournament semifinals, but Palmer did the best job in the fourth quarter to emerge with a 37-32 win.
Glen Rose (10-7) was held to single digits in both the first and fourth quarters.
“This loss was about our offense,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “We had good shots and didn’t score. That’s (now) twice in my career that we’ve held somebody under 40 points and lost, so we have to get the ball in the hole. We missed way too many wide-open shots and shots in the paint.”
Top scorers in the loss were Ben Coppock (10 points, 5 rebounds, assist, 9 steals, block) and Stetson Overton (10 points, rebound, assist, steal). Other scorers included Colton Bretton (6 points, 9 rebounds), Jeffery Harris (2 points, 6 rebounds), Hayden Bach (2 points, rebound, assist, 2 steals) and Curry Mapes (2 points, rebound, assist, steal).
Glen Rose quickly went up 4-2 in the first quarter, as Coppock made the first of his nine steals and scored in transition, but Palmer finished the quarter on an 11-2 run (11-6). The Tigers didn’t capitalize on a number of other fast-break chances and went 0-6 at the free throw line.
“You have to be able to convert,” Roberts said. “We play great defense to give ourselves a chance, but we have to score.”
While four players each grabbed three boards in the first, Roberts was looking for points.
“When you miss as many shots as we do, you have a lot of chances to get rebounds,” he said.
The Tiger defense was really strong in the second quarter, as Palmer only scored on a three-pointer and Glen Rose led 16-14 at the half. Coppock had three steals in the frame.
“We did a good job of preventing second-chance opportunities by them at that point,” Roberts said. “Our defense is good. That was a great job by Ben; now we need to convert defense to offense.”
Overton hit two threes and scored all but two of his team’s points in the quarter.
“We needed that from Stetson as we try to become more consistent,” Roberts said.
The Tigers got off to a good start in the second quarter with a Coppock three and then consecutive Bretton putbacks for a seven-point lead.
“We needed more scoring in the paint like Colton gave us there,” Roberts said.
Palmer showed its perimeter prowess with three three-pointers in a row to take the lead.
“We knew they had two shooters and those were the ones making the threes,” Roberts said. “We didn’t shut down the people we needed to shut down, especially in that stretch.”
Glen Rose ended the quarter on a high note with a Bach midrange jumper and then a Harris baseline runner at the buzzer (27-25).
“We finally scored at the buzzer and I thought that would be a key to the game,” the coach said.
An Overton layup gave Glen Rose a four-point lead early in the fourth, but Palmer struck back with six-straight points and actually finished the game on a 12-3 surge. The last three Glen Rose points were all Coppock free throws, as his final two after an offensive rebound gave the Tigers their last lead (32-31).
“Those are clutch free throws; we just needed to finish it off,” the coach said.
Palmer managed to convert consecutive putbacks to put the Tigers on the ropes with seconds remaining.
“They made them right there under the basket and we didn’t; that’s the ballgame,” Roberts said.
Overton wasn’t able to hit a three to tie with seven seconds left, and Palmer made two free throws to seal the deal.
“We’ll see how we bounce back from this,” the coach said.
Glen Rose returns to Godley on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for the third-place game.