The Lady Tigers were ready to play when Friday night’s game in Hillsboro tipped off, as evidenced by the fact they scored enough points to win in the first quarter alone.
Glen Rose (20-7, 5-1) earned its 20th win of the season by a 60-14 margin after leading 24-2 through one quarter. It’s the first 20-win season for the team under the direction of Sheree Hill during her seven years at the helm.
"I thought we looked good in the first few minutes and were firing on all cylinders," Hill said. "I also thought we rebounded pretty well for the most part."
Leading scorers in the victory were underclassmen Kelsey Potter (13 PT, 9 RB, 2 STL, BLK) and Madi Gibson (10 PT, 4 RB, STL, BLK).
"I thought we came out there trying to score as much as we could to get off to a good start, because last time we didn't play good against them in the beginning," Potter said.
Other scorers included Reilly Junge (8 PT, 6 RB, 2 AST, 3 STL), Kate Goen (8 PT, 8 RB), Kayla Goebel (7 PT, 5 RB, STL, BLK), Destiny Ponce (5 PT, 4 RB, 3 AST, 3 STL, BLK), Kiffany Kelly (4 PT, 2 RB, 2 AST, STL), Madison Morrow (3 PT, AST, STL) and Shelby Rotan (2 PT, AST). Ashlan Bernard chipped in with three assists, a steal and a block.
Potter was extremely aggressive in the paint, as she converted two shots while being fouled in the first few minutes. Despite the lopsided score, it was a physical affair and Potter would have her headband knocked off later in the contest.
"A physical game like that helps us get ready for the playoffs, but it will be a lot tougher in the playoffs," the sophomore said.
Hill appreciated the underclassman's physicality.
"We talked about Kelsey finishing plays with contact, and she's doing that," the coach said.
Kelly and Junge each went 2-2 at the free throw line in the quarter, and Junge impressively went 6-6 in the game.
"Reilly didn't get a lot of scoring opportunities because she was passing, but she did a great job at the line," Hill said.
Goen began what was an impressive showing for her with a corner three off a Kelly assist.
"Kate played good," Potter said. "She shot the ball well and it was one of her best games I thought."
Although Glen Rose would struggle to score in a second quarter it won 7-0, most of the points came very quickly with Kelly assisting Goen and then scoring off a Bernard assist. Turnovers and inside misses slowed the Lady Tigers, but their defense was at full-tilt with blocks from Ponce, Gibson and Potter in the quarter.
"I think our intensity went down when I pulled us out of the press," Hill said of the scoring lull. "There's no excuse for that, and we did a better job in the second half of getting after it."
Hillsboro was at its best in a third quarter Glen Rose won 11-7. Hillsboro got some steals to keep the Lady Tigers from rolling, and the home team also protected the ball better to get off more shots.
"We pulled off the press and worked on our half-court defense, which led to more shots for them," Hill said.
When Potter scored in transition while being fouled to open the second half, it completed a 21-0 run (33-2) before a Hillsboro three.
"We were playing to our personality during much of that run, and I was much happier with this game than the one against Venus," Hill said.
Goen hit a pair of free throws and grabbed five rebounds in the frame.
"Kate just gets better and better," Hill said.
Morrow got her team off to a good start in the fourth, assisting Gibson on a jumper and then making a pair of free throws. Bernard and Goebel each blocked shots, while Goebel and Gibson each made a three to help Glen Rose win the quarter 18-5.
"Madi has really improved (with) the way she's rebounding and scoring," Potter said.
Freshman Gibson would strike again in the quarter with a putback.
"Some of the younger kids got in there and made some things happen like we've been looking for them to do, so I was proud of that," Hill said. "Madi did a great job, and she's working on playing stronger."
Potter's effort never wavered, proven by her five rebounds in the fourth.
"Kelsey did a heck of a job on the boards," Hill said. "She has an eagerness and a hunger to rebound the ball."
Potter said she is driven to rebound well to help create fast-break points for Glen Rose.
The red team will need to be at its very best on Tuesday at home when it faces Stephenville – No. 2 in the TABC 3A rankings – at 6:30 p.m.
"I though we finished well (Friday), and I hope that carries us into Tuesday's game," Hill said.
The Lady Tigers will be an underdog in the contest to say the least, but Potter believes.
"I think that we have a chance to beat them, but we have to work together," she said.