Facing a rematch against the toughest team on their respective schedules, the GRJHS boys' basketball B-teams each made improvements against Kennedale on Thursday.

The eighth grade B-team lost to Kennedale 27-13, which was quite a step forward from the 53-13 defeat in the earlier meeting.

"We have six guys who work as hard as any coach could ask for," said coach Fred Cordova.

Scorers for Glen Rose included Josue Guia (7 PT, 7 RB, STL), Joey Matthews (4 PT, 2 RB, 3 BLK) and Carter Cross (2 PT, 6 RB, AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK). Adrian Barraza (3 RB) was able to make five steals.

As Kennedale won the first quarter 9-6, Guia managed to steal the ball and score in transition. Cross hit a long jumper after an offensive rebound and Matthews scored on a putback.

"(Guia) has really come out of nowhere," Cordova said. "Last year, he pretty much learned the game from square one. That kid has made strides like I've never seen in my six years as a coach."

Kennedale essentially won the game with a 12-3 second quarter, considering it was the only quarter that wasn't close. Putbacks from offensive rebounds were a key to the visitors' success.

"Kennedale hurt us on putbacks, but I think part of that is their depth to bring in fresh guys while we were a little gassed," Cordova said.

Guia had a team-high four rebounds in the opening half, while Cross and Matthews each blocked two shots in the second quarter alone. Matthews buried a midrange jumper off a Cross assist.

"We know Joey can score," Cordova said. "He's never played before, but I see him being able to turn into a really good basketball player. I hadn't seen him knock down an outside shot like that before; he did a great job (Thursday)."

Cordova appreciated the effort of his tallest players for the blocks.

"We don't have to coach Joey on that," Cordova said. "He's a natural playing defense, and especially shot blocking because he's so tall. Cross came through with some really big blocks for us."

Offense was in short supply for both teams in the second half, as Kennedale won the third quarter 4-2. Guia scored on a putback, while Barraza was hustling to snag a couple of steals.

"Adrian has one speed," Cordova said. "He is very athletic and has been able to play multiple positions. He's done a good job and shown some leadership."

Each team scored two in the fourth, as Guia nailed a short bankshot and Matthews blocked one more shot to go with Barraza's last two steals.

7th B-team narrows the gap

The seventh grade B-team also gave Kennedale a better game in the second meeting. After losing previously 42-0, Glen Rose lost 28-4 on Thursday.

"For a lot of these kids, (this season is) their first time to play basketball, and that's always tough," Cordova said. "We've tried to get them ready for what they'll see in a game, and our understanding of the game has improved since the first time we played (Kennedale). Some guys like Jonah Wilson and Nick Satterfield are stepping up. They've all gotten better."

Scorers included Wilson (2 PT, 2 RB, BLK) and Cooper Holder (2 PT, RB). Other notable contributors were Briley Green (6 RB, 3 STL), Satterfield (4 RB, STL) and Ray Reyna (2 RB, AST, 3 STL).

The Tigers were very competitive in two quarters, including a first quarter they lost 2-0. Wilson blocked a shot, while Reyna and Satterfield got off to a good start on the boards. Glen Rose did a solid job of keeping Kennedale players from penetrating.

"Guys have learned their responsibilities on defense, and that's mainly why we cut Kennedale's point total in half," Cordova said.

The visitors were able to pull away in a 13-4 second quarter, but Holder drew a foul and swished both free throws, while Wilson took a Reyna pass and made a runner in the lane.

"We put in daily practice on free throws and I preach trying not to use any backboard or rim," Cordova said. "Cooper did just what he'd been coached to do there. Wilson is figuring out the game and I think he'll be a good player if he keeps working on it."

Kennedale was able to get some steals and ensuing layups at the other end.

"At times we got sluggish (offensively), and that's when the bench needs to step up and help the starters," the coach said.

The Tigers shored up their defense in the third, losing the quarter 3-0. Green kept working hard with two of his rebounds. As Kennedale won the fourth quarter 10-0 and made two more steals that resulted in layups, Green finished on a positive note with two steals and Isaac Emerson grabbed multiple rebounds.

"Green is one of those players who really hustles and I thought he did a great job," Cordova said. "The wheels kind of fell off in the end for us; we have to learn to play a complete game."