The Lady Tigers just keep on winning games, and on Saturday night that success resulted in a Dublin Athletic Booster Club Tournament championship.
Glen Rose (8-0), No. 19 in the TABC 3A state rankings, won the first quarter 12-3 and never looked back in a 54-35 win over host Dublin.
“We had spurts where we played well; I just think we could’ve been more consistent,” said coach Sheree Hill. “I didn’t like the way we finished the game, but it’s okay. We achieved our goal by coming here and winning a championship, and the kids had fun. We did what we had to do.”
Destiny Ponce (4 rebounds) scored a team-high 16 points.
“We’re still undefeated at this point and it feels great,” Ponce said. “It’s our first time to win this tournament and we have a good team this year. We can do great things. We want to keep (our state ranking), so we have to keep working hard.”
Other Lady Tiger scorers included Reilly Junge (12 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, block), Kelsey Potter (10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals), Madi Gibson (6 points, 4 rebounds, steal), Kayla Goebel (5 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, block), Kiffany Kelly (3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) and Ashlan Bernard (2 points, 4 rebounds, steal).
The Lady Tigers had some misses around the hoop and at the free throw line in the first quarter, but that didn’t stop them from seizing an 8-0 lead when Junge assisted Ponce and then sunk consecutive shots – including a three. Careless passes really hurt Dublin and limited its shot attempts.
Junge blocked a shot late in the first and then assisted Potter on a long jumper for a 12-3 lead. Junge had a do-it-all first quarter with five points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Ponce battled for three early rebounds.
“Reilly had a good tournament and start to the season,” Hill said. “I’ve always said she needs to do this game in and game out for us to be successful, and she’s doing a good job. Rebounds got Destiny rolling and she had a good game. She got in a little foul trouble, but man she plays hard and she ran the floor well; that’s what we want her to do.”
Ponce thought the early board work boosted her.
“When I get rebounds early, it helps my offense get going,” she said. “I think I get down the court faster.”
Both teams played well offensively in the second quarter and Glen Rose was putting up strong rebounding numbers, led by Goebel with four in the frame.
“Rebounding is the first thing we look to Kayla for,” Hill said.
Free throws can give the Lady Tigers trouble at times, but in the second Gibson, Potter and Ponce each had a trip to the line where they hit both. Ponce actually drew a foul with 0.7 seconds left in the half before making hers for a 30-17 lead.
“Destiny did very well from the free throw line,” Hill said.
Potter had a strong half with nine points, including a baseline jumper off a Junge assist.
“Kelsey’s offense is coming on and she’s putting more free throws in the hole, too,” Hill said.
Ponce was thriving off long transition passes from Junge, and at one point in the second she made consecutive baskets by outrunning the defense.
“We’ve been playing together since fifth grade, so we know where each other are on the court,” Ponce said. “She looks up and she sees me; (the ball) is there. Reilly is a great passer. I have no idea how she sees some of the things she sees.”
Hill likes to pick her spots regarding Junge hoisting the deep ball.
“Toward the end of the quarter when teams get tired, we can hit them with that and we did late in the first half,” the coach said.
The third quarter was relatively quiet, as Glen Rose won it 9-4. Four Lady Tigers grabbed multiple rebounds and Kelly scored on a putback. With that being said, the Lady Tigers had numerous chances for and-one plays but didn’t get one.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” Hill said. “We didn’t go up strong at times around the basket, and we have to finish those shots when we get offensive boards.”
Bernard did a good job protecting the ball when she was in at point guard, and she was the only player on either team in the third to make both of her free throws.
“Ashlan did a real good job,” Hill said. “For her to go up and get boards, make her free throws – I was pleased with her.”
Dublin managed to score in a variety of ways in the fourth, but the Lady Tigers still won the quarter 15-14. Ponce hit all four of her late free throws and Gibson made three of four.
“The stronger Madi gets around the basket, the better she’ll be,” Hill said. “She wasn’t feeling good, but you wouldn’t know it by the way she played.”
In the final minutes, Junge hit Ponce in stride with another long ball for her seventh assist.
After the ballgame, Goebel, Ponce and Junge received All-Tournament Team medals. The Lady Tigers will now host Hamilton on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
“We’ll try to keep this going, one game at a time,” Hill said.