In most sports, the 7-3A title goes through Stephenville.
In girls’ basketball, however, Glen Rose is now the frontrunner. The Lady Tigers (12-5, 3-0) used a strong second quarter to build a lead and held on late for a 36-30 home win over the Stephenville Honeybees Friday, Jan. 10. Glen Rose snapped Stephenville’s nine-game district winning streak, giving the Honeybees their first district loss since Feb. 7, 2012.
“Beating a good program like that does a whole lot for our program,” said coach Sheree Hill. “We talked before the game about volleyball beating (Stephenville in the fall), the feeling the girls got from that win and that there’s no reason we can’t do it also. I think this experience will help our kids down the stretch, and I know the girls felt like they could win.”
Senior Kayla Goebel (17 PT, 14 RB, AST, 2 STL, BLK) was the best player on the floor in the victory.
“It means a lot to win this one,” Goebel said. “It feels really good to have beaten Stephenville in volleyball and now basketball my senior year. We aren’t going to mess around – we’re going to win district for the Lady Tigers.”
For the first time all season, Glen Rose had three double-digit rebounders in the same game thanks to Madi Gibson (8 PT, 12 RB, 2 AST, STL) and Kelsey Potter (7 PT, 11 RB, 3 AST, 3 STL).
“We knew that (the Honeybees) crash boards hard, but if we’d block them out we could get a lot of rebounds,” Goebel said. “That helped us get some of their good players in foul trouble.”
Other scorers included Ashlan Bernard (2 PT, 2 RB, AST) and Page Green (2 PT, AST, STL).
Both teams struggled making free throws, but Stephenville was staggeringly poor from the field – making seven of 49 shots.
Glen Rose came out firing to win the first quarter 11-9, as Goebel opened the frame with two made free throws and ended it with a three-pointer. She also blocked a shot, while Potter hit a jumper and assisted Green on an inbounds layup. The Lady Tigers were able to overcome several turnovers.
“We did have some turnover issues and we put them on the line too much,” Hill said. “They missed enough free throws that we didn’t suffer like we could’ve. Page played a lot and did some great things. She was hustling and going after the ball on defense.”
The Glen Rose rebounding trio really began to rise up in a second quarter the Lady Tigers won 13-5, as Goebel set the pace with five boards. Goebel responded to a Honeybee three that opened the quarter with four points, and then Gibson bookended a Stephenville hoop with four points of her own. Potter scored inside and then assisted Goebel on another three, as Glen Rose led 24-14 at the half with Stephenville turning the ball over frequently.
“It was tough down in the paint and it wasn’t easy to get a rebound (Friday),” Hill said. “They make you play strong or you’re in trouble. I saw Madi numerous times just getting mauled in there, but somehow she’d come down with the ball and she was able to make some inside baskets. We’ve done a good job of rebounding, and Kayla and Potter were also on the boards for us.”
Goebel nearly outscored the entire Stephenville team in the first half, 14-12.
“My mindset was that we were going to beat Stephenville no matter what it took,” the senior said. “I didn’t care how much I scored, but we were going to win.”
“Kayla was on fire early,” Hill added.
The Lady Tiger offense sputtered in the third, but Glen Rose didn’t let Stephenville get going either to win it 5-4. All of the Glen Rose points came early in the quarter, as putbacks by Gibson and Goebel helped the Lady Tigers cap off a 12-0 run.
“Whenever we came back from halftime, we didn’t play as well, so we knew we’d have to give everything to finish it off,” Goebel said.
Hill focused on doing what was necessary to win.
“We didn’t feel like we could sub a lot, so our starters got tired later in the game and that was part of the problem,” Hill said. “They started a very small, quick lineup, so we felt like we had to match up with that.”
While Glen Rose didn’t score again the rest of the third, four players made steals and Stephenville didn’t make a basket in the entire quarter.
“At halftime, I told the girls it would come down to the defensive end,” Hill said. “One of their guards tried to take over the game in the third quarter, but she didn’t do enough to hurt us.”
Stephenville’s offense picked up in the fourth to win it 12-7, as the Lady Tigers made a lot of passes that resulted in turnovers and had a hard time at the free throw line. Goebel had the lone Glen Rose basket for much of the quarter, and one of her six rebounds in the quarter resulted in a putback. Gibson added four boards in the fourth.
“Down the stretch, I saw Kayla being more of a leader,” Hill said. “She’s learning how she needs to lead and I’m proud of that. We needed to work the clock more late in the game. We forced shots we didn’t need, so we have to get better at that.”
With both teams missing free throws, Stephenville slowly crept back into the game – getting as close as 31-26. With 1:20 left in the game, Potter took a Bernard pass and converted a driving layup to push the lead to seven.
“I told Potter to drive the ball because the refs were calling it tighter and she did awesome to make it,” Goebel said.
“Potter plays with so much competitiveness that she won’t back down, and she usually makes good decisions,” Hill added.
The Lady Tigers had missed all five of their free throws in the quarter, but when Bernard stepped to the line she made two in the final minute to put Stephenville on the ropes down 35-26.
“We’re still not where we want to be on the free throw line, but Ashlan stepped up when we needed those at the end,” Hill said. “Ashlan hasn’t faced that much pressure (at point guard) before for the whole game, and I was proud of how she handled it.”
Stephenville made a three in the final seconds, but it was too little, too late. The Lady Tigers return to action Jan. 17 in Alvarado at 6:30 p.m.
“We need to enjoy this over the weekend, and then Monday we need to go to work and be ready for Alvarado,” Hill said.