Tiger basketball dominated the middle quarters against Rio Vista in Tuesday night’s season opener, and that proved to be plenty for Glen Rose (1-0) in a 53-36 victory.
“For our first game and being shorthanded, this was a good win,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “It was the first varsity game for a lot of these guys and they started the season off right.”
Top scorers for the Tigers were Ben Coppock (14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, block), Stetson Overton (14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and John Henry Powell (12 points, 8 rebounds, assist, 3 steals). Other scorers were Hayden Bach (9 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals), Jeffery Harris (2 points, 5 rebounds) and Justin Potter (2 points, 3 rebounds).
Although Harris and Coppock each hit the boards early with three rebounds in the first and Overton buried a couple of threes, Rio Vista got a trio of threes to go and the Tigers led just 13-11. Bach had a good stretch with a steal and transition hoop before assisting teammates on consecutive baskets.
“In the first quarter of the first game, you sort of have to feel things out,” Roberts said. “When let them hang in there with us, and then we shut them down over the next two quarters to take control of the game. We need Ben to be really solid in every game. He had a great first half and then foul trouble slowed him up.”
The Tigers began to roll in the second quarter, winning it 15-4. Bach continued to share with assists to Coppock and then to Overton for another three.
“Stetson is our best three-point shooter out there, which enables us to spread the floor,” Roberts said. “That’s his game and he battles. We want to run and I thought we did a great job of that in the middle quarters. Hayden’s hip (pain) slowed him down later in the game, but he was making plays early on.”
While Coppock was making an up-and-under bankshot at one end, Rio Vista was really struggling with turnovers at the other end of the court. The visitors didn’t score their first point of the quarter until 1:33 was left in the half.
“Our perimeter people did a great job with their guards,” Roberts said. “We figured out what they were trying to do and forced them away from it. When we forced them to the baseline, they struggled. Potter, Bach and Overton really did a good job with their perimeter defense, especially for the first game.”
Late in the half, Coppock scored on a putback and then sank a three off an Overton assist for a 28-15 lead.
“Ben has worked really hard to be able to shoot the three and also drive the ball,” Roberts said. “He began to get in foul trouble and we can’t afford for that to happen.”
The Tigers were even a bit better in the third to win it 18-6. Powell was the story with five offensive rebounds, which led to four putbacks and two made free throws.
“John Henry took over on the boards, even though he hasn’t been out here that long (with the team),” Roberts said. “He gave us some great quality minutes and it was an outstanding job. I was pleased with our offensive rebounding, but not our defensive rebounding. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Bach and Overton each made a three in the third, and late in the quarter Overton stole the ball and assisted Coppock on a driving layup.
The Tigers headed into the fourth quarter up 46-21, but Rio Vista kept battling and took the final frame 15-7.
“The fourth quarter was disappointing,” Roberts said. “You could tell we were getting tired and we had a few injuries, but the game was out of reach for them. Rio Vista had to gamble at that point, and the gambles paid off.”
Bach continued to work and attacked the basket successfully a couple of times, while Powell also drove to the basket in the closing moments to cap off a strong game for him.
“The Tigers will now host West on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
“It was a good first game for us,” Roberts said. “I always look for effort and taking care of the ball more than anything else. West will be full strength with a senior-laden team and we’ll have our hands full. I don’t think we will be at full strength (without our football players), and don’t want to be (yet).”