The 8A Tigers had a very tough time in their Thursday, Jan. 30 game, but it was more about the opponent than anything else.
Lipan came to town and performed at a high level to win 49-23. The visitors won the middle quarters 33-7.
“That’s absolutely the most skilled team we’ve played this year,” said coach Brad Reedy. “When you consider it’s a school that doesn’t play football – they’ve been playing since August – they showed why they’re known for basketball. With our guys playing other sports, too, we’re not as developed in the nuances of the game.
“I think what we can take away from this game is we played hard and the kids saw some things they hadn’t seen other teams do. They saw how effective the things like ball movement and shot fakes were for Lipan, so it was a big learning opportunity.”
Top scorers were Tate Swearengin (10) and Logan Thames (6). Other scorers were Connor Hansen (3), Kelton Bernard (2) and Jake Andersen (3).
Glen Rose was ready to play in a first quarter it lost 9-8. Swearengin was sharp with his finishing around the basket for six points. Thames scored his first basket, blocked a shot and assisted Swearengin twice – including one pass when he was going out of bounds.
“In the first quarter, we were getting the ball down low with better passes and fewer turnovers,” Reedy said. “We had a size advantage, but we didn’t capitalize on it the rest of the game. Tate is athletic and he finds places to get good shots. He’s always active, but this was also a good shooting night for him.”
Lipan hit a corner three-pointer late in the quarter, which began what was a 20-0 run. Lipan won the second quarter 17-4, as turnovers – especially traveling – began to pile up on the Tigers. Lipan hit another three, but for the most part it thrived on steals and strong finishing in transition. Late in the half, Swearengin hit two jumpers to reach 10 points.
“We’ve had some issues with traveling, and we talk about it nearly everyday,” the coach said. “A lot of it comes down to decision making when a player gets the ball.”
Just before the halftime buzzer, a Lipan player used a shot fake in the post to get a layup. The visitors used a number of shot fakes in the game to create separation from defenders.
“We told the guys at halftime not to jump on the shot fake and to get out and cover the three-point line,” Reedy said. “Their transition points came from turnovers.”
Lipan managed to be just as strong in a third quarter it won 16-3. Thames, who rebounded well throughout the game, blocked a shot and assisted Hansen on a three-pointer.
“That was a big shot for Connor, and he’s worked on his shooting a lot this year,” Reedy said. “He’s tried to develop good mechanics and that’s shown up the last few weeks.”
Reedy brought four seventh graders up for the game. Two of them impacted the game to open the fourth quarter when Weston Halcom stole the ball and Bernard scored in transition.
“I asked those guys if they wanted to play up with us,” Reedy said. “River (Costello) is a good rebounder and Kelton is a good ball handler. For a guy like Weston, his athleticism shows on the court.”
Thames scored the next four points for Glen Rose, and then late in the contest Andersen stole the ball and converted a layup. The Tigers won the fourth quarter 8-7.
“It’s no secret Logan is probably the best athlete in the junior high, and that shows up when he’s playing,” Reedy said. “His hustle plays are always there.”
The Tigers have two games remaining on the season.
“We’ve gone back to the basics, especially shooting and dribbling,” Reedy said. “If we can get better on those things to end the season, it’s huge for the future.”