DENTON - Burkburnett used a 30-12 third quarter surge and took advantage of 27 Glen Rose turnovers to eliminate the Runnin' Tigers, 65-51, in the Class 3A Region I quarterfinals on March 4 at Guyer High School.
The loss ended the Tigers' season with an impressive record of 26-7, and concluded the careers of seniors Ryan Bruce, Waylon White, Derek Thompson, Ray Garcia, Austin Eschbach, Justin Merghart, David Oliver and Nathan Yeager. Glen Rose was co-champs of District 7-3A and also claimed an area championship with its 81-46 thrashing of Decatur.
"We told those guys not to hang their heads at all," Glen Rose head coach Wayne Roberts said of the seniors and the rest of his club. "Overall, I thought we had a great year. You're always going to go through some ups and downs, but I thought we continued to improve as the year went on. After losing our first district ball game (to 7-3A co-champ Gatesville) by 17, I thought we came back with a lot of intensity and really all the way through the Burkburnett game we finished playing hard. We certainly wish all these seniors could come back. We hate to see them go, but that's just the way this business works. You lose some every year, and you just have to go back to work and get ready for the next season."
Burkburnett, champions of District 5-3A went on to the regional tournament in Lubbock, where they were eliminated by Lubbock Estacado in the semifinals on Friday. Estacado won the regional and is one of four schools vying for the 3A championship this weekend in Austin.
Bruce, who led all scorers with 27 points, scored all 14 second quarter points for the Tigers to keep the game close at halftime. He almost kept up with the entire Burkburnett club, which had 19 in the period to overcome a one-point deficit after one and take a 29-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
The third quarter would prove to be the difference as Burkburnett scored the first six points to extend its lead to 10 before Roberts took a timeout with just 1:12 gone in the period.
The Bulldog lead would later grow to 13 thanks to four straight points by Burkburnett senior guard Jay Gould, who led the Bulldogs with 20. Glen Rose would never get any closer.
A pair of Gould free throws made it a personal 6-0 run before he dropped an assist off to teammate Jason Beach, then threw up an alleyoop to setup sophomore standout Derrell Gibbs for a two-handed slam that made it a 10-0 run and a 49-30 Bulldog lead.
"Even with the turnovers, we had some chances to hit shots that could have kept us in the game," Roberts said. "Early in the third quarter we missed some open looks that could have changed things."
Thompson, one of only three Tigers besides Bruce to score in the loss, ended the drought with a layup, and Bruce added another duece to pull within 15, but the Bulldogs ended the period on a 10-3 push to put the game out of reach.
Gould hit the dagger when he buried a 3-point basket with just 1.6 seconds left in the third, giving Burkburnett a comfortable 59-37 advantage entering the fourth.
"They hit some big shots in that period," Roberts said of the Bulldogs. "The biggest blow came when they hit the three at the end of the quarter."
Glen Rose scored the first five points of the fourth as Yeager knocked down a two and White drilled a triple, but the Bulldogs came back with five straight of their own to kill the Tigers' brief momentum.
Glen Rose did pull within 13 again on a Yeager jump hook that made it 64-51 with just under two minutes left, but the only scoring the rest of the way was a single free throw by Burkburnett.
Thompson finished with 11 for Glen Rose, nine of them coming in the second half. The only other Tiger scorers were White with seven and Yeager with six.
Gibbs had 14 for the Bulldogs, while Dwayne Johnson, Jordan Beach and Jason Beach all had eight and Aaron Thompson chipped in with seven.
The Tigers had a forgettable night shooting the ball, connecting on just 18-59 from the floor for only 30.6-percent. Burkburnett didn't fare much better, hitting just 31.1-percent.
"The turnovers were big," Roberts said. "When you turn the ball over you lose the opportunity to score, and they took advantage. I think we turned the ball over nine times just in the third quarter. Still, if we could have hit some of our open looks in the first quarter and early in the third quarter, we could have had a lead instead of playing from behind."
Roberts was pleased with his team's defensive effort, though the Tigers were badgered on the backboards.
"I thought we played pretty well defensively," he said, "but we knew they were bigger than us and that they were a good rebounding team, and they proved that. They had too many second and third chances."