Tiger basketball hung right with 5A Odessa High for three quarters of Saturday’s third-place game in the Luminant/Glen Rose Lions Club Tournament, but the visitors got the better of things in the fourth quarter to secure a 50-41 victory.
Glen Rose (6-5) won the middle quarters 31-27.
“We kept battling back, and even after three quarters it was still a one-point game,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “Then they scored the first seven points of the fourth on free throws. We needed to play good solid defense instead of giving them freebies.
“We cut it to five a couple of times and just couldn’t get a stop to get over the hump. At times, we didn’t play fundamental basketball.”
Ben Coppock had his most well-rounded game of the season with 13 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Other scorers included Curry Mapes (9 points), Hayden Bach (8 points, rebound, assist, steal), Stetson Overton (6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals), Colton Bretton (4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Cody Burtscher (1 point, 2 rebounds, steal, block).
The Tigers had a hard time offensively in the first quarter with a lot of turnovers, but did a solid job defensively to trail Odessa 9-4 after one. Coppock was crashing the boards early and often with four in the frame.
“You have to get used to that (Odessa) athleticism, which is why we got off to a slow start,” Roberts said. “Our defense kept us in the game early and we wanted to keep it a low-scoring game.”
The Glen Rose offense came to life in the second quarter to win it 17-12. Bach got going with eight points in the quarter, as he and Mapes both made threes.
Bretton blocked two shots, while Burtscher and Coppock each blocked one. Coppock had three assists in the quarter and continued to snag rebounds.
“Ben is playing well and he needs some rest,” Roberts said. “We try to play a team game, so those assists from Ben are important. We can play some defense, and blocking shots is part of it. We hung in there against a very athletic, strong team.”
Even a momentary lapse in focus for the Tigers usually resulted in a turnover.
“Against a team like that, you have to do everything right to have a chance,” the coach said. “We had spurts of excellent basketball, but at times we turned it over too much. If we turn it over less, we have a few more chances to score.”
Both teams played well in a third quarter Odessa won 15-14 to lead 36-35 through three.
Coppock carried the offense for much of the quarter for the first eight points, including a steal and ensuing completed and-one play. Late in the quarter, Mapes splashed a pair of wing threes.
“You get that momentum going to the basket walking into a shot with a pass inside-out and you get into a better rhythm,” Roberts said of Mapes’ threes.
In a critical sequence of plays, Odessa got to the line and managed to hit seven-straight free throws to build an eight-point lead it would never relinquish. The visitors then began to stall on offense and run clock.
“That’s part of the game,” Roberts said. “The teams that shoot free throws well in the fourth quarter usually win; it ended up being the difference in the game.”
The only points of the quarter for Glen Rose ended up coming on Overton threes, and one of them was particularly impressive. He stole a long Odessa inbounds pass and stepped back to bury a wing three.
“That’s what we need to do,” Roberts said. “Players need to play to their strengths, and Stetson’s strength is shooting the three, along with steals and offensive rebounds.”
Odessa did miss some free throws down the stretch, but it made enough to win and all 14 of its points were on free throws.
The Tigers will be off until Friday when they host the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout. Friday games will start at 12:30 p.m. with the last game at 8 p.m., while Saturday games will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the last game at 6 p.m. Glen Rose plays Eastland on Friday at 2 p.m. and takes on Brock on Saturday at 6 p.m.
“Our Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout is about match games with a lot of different teams coming in,” Roberts said. “We’re really looking forward to it. We want to try to get a huge crowd out to support this event, because the majority of the money we raise will be given to the Cancer Foundation here in Glen Rose. It’s a great opportunity to see some great basketball.”