Tiger basketball came close to a shorthanded victory in Graham on Tuesday night, but the hosts managed to finish strong.

While Glen Rose (11-10) led going into the fourth quarter, it was all Graham down the stretch for a 49-43 win.

The Tigers trailed only 12-10 after the first quarter, but Graham had a good second quarter to lead 28-19 at halftime.

“We started out very slow and weren’t rebounding, but we hung in there and gave ourselves a chance heading into the second half,” said coach Wayne Roberts.

The Tigers were outstanding in a third quarter they won 17-3.

“We came out in the third and completely shut them down defensively,” Roberts said. “Then we made a mistake in the last 30 seconds of the quarter with a shot too early, which led to a three-point play on the other end. That changed the momentum back in their favor. Our defense was pretty solid (overall) and it was excellent in the third.”

To the coach’s point, Graham won the fourth 18-7.

“They came out scoring early in the fourth, got in the press and we didn’t handle the pressure very well,” he said.

Point guards Hayden Bach and Curry Mapes both fouled out, while Colton Bretton played with four fouls. Cody Burtscher, Jeffery Harris and Ben Coppock all didn’t play due either to illness or injury.

“Being shorthanded, we ran out of gas in the fourth and forced some things,” Roberts said. “We got away from what got us ahead. Playing without five of your top guys down the stretch isn’t a good thing.”

The bright spot was definitely Marquis Holder, who scored a career-high 18 points.

“Marquis kept us in the ballgame,” Roberts said. “He knocked down shots and we kept feeding him the ball. He hit some big threes and we rode the hot hand.”

Other key scorers were Stetson Overton (8), Bretton (6), Bach (4) and Mapes (4).

“Colton got aggressive on the boards as the game went and really rebounded well,” the coach said.

The Tigers have quite a challenge on their hands in Friday’s district opener when they travel to face Stephenville at 8 p.m. Stephenville is No. 8 in the TABC 3A rankings.

“I’m not sure who we’ll have back for Friday, but we have to give it our best shot with who we’ve got,” Roberts said.