The Lady Tigers were spinning their wheels most of the way Tuesday night at the offensive end, but a stellar fourth quarter changed everything in a 42-20 home win over West.
Glen Rose moved to 5-0, as it stunningly scored more in the final quarter (22) than West produced in the entire game. The Lady Tigers led just 20-13 through three.
“We just couldn’t score in the first half,” said coach Sheree Hill. “Somewhere in the second half we decided to take the lid off the basket. It was definitely a team effort when we did really start scoring.”
To the coach’s point, five Lady Tigers scored at least six points and nobody scored more than 12. Destiny Ponce (5 rebounds, 2 steals) was a key point producer with eight.
“We were more aggressive in our press to get steals and we got to the basket,” Ponce said of the big fourth quarter. “Plus, our shots started falling after not falling whatsoever in the first half.”
Other scorers included Reilly Junge (12 points, 5 assists, 5 steals, block), Kayla Goebel (6 points, 7 rebounds, assist, 3 steals, 2 blocks), Kelsey Potter (6 points, 6 rebounds, assist, 2 steals), Shelby Rotan (6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals), Kiffany Kelly (2 points, rebound, assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Kate Goen (2 points, rebound).
Junge was opportunistic in the first quarter, as she stole the ball and scored in transition on two occasions.
“I hope it’s usually Reilly leading the way when we’re playing great defense,” Hill said. “Unless she’s in foul trouble, she can set the tone.”
The Lady Tigers weren’t allowing anything easy, as they won the first quarter 8-2.
“I thought our defense was good and our effort was very good,” Hill said. “We talked about trying to extend our press before the game, and I thought our kids truly bought into that. We still have to work on not bailing teams out by fouling.
“We try to take people out of their offense by being in their face and putting so much pressure on them they can’t see. I’m not surprised we were that effective, but I’m excited by it.”
Ponce was ready to play, as she had four rebounds in the first and scored on a putback.
“The girl blocking me out was big and made it hard to get around her; I had to be quick,” Ponce said. “(West) lost the ball a lot, made bad passes and we were able to deflect and steal them.”
The second quarter wasn’t pretty, as the teams tied 4-4. While missed free throws, few rebounds and inside misses plagued the Lady Tigers in the quarter, Glen Rose was piling up steals at the other end. Rotan began and ended the quarter with steals.
“Shelby played so well,” Hill said. “She plays so much taller than she is and always seemed to be in the right spot. She’s playing like a senior ought to be playing.
“We didn’t like that quarter or the feel of it. We knew going into halftime that we had to turn things around offensively. You’re going to have bad offensive nights, but as long as you do the other things well you can hang in there.”
A Potter free throw at the end of the second quarter was Glen Rose’s only make of the half.
“We were really bad on our free throws, which really affected the score,” Ponce said.
West scored four in a row to pull within 12-10 early in the third, but Glen Rose responded with jumpers from Goebel and Potter to rebuild a cushion. Glen Rose had three blocks in the quarter, including two by Kelly.
“Kiffany has good hands and her timing allows her to make those plays,” Hill said.
Glen Rose did rebound much better in the third, and a putback by Goen late in the frame gave the Lady Tigers a seven-point lead.
“Kate is doing a very good job of meshing with her teammates while adjusting to a new position,” Hill said. “She’s been very coachable and will continue to improve. We talked about rebounding at halftime and I’m glad we stepped it up.”
Ponce likes her teammate’s aggressive approach.
“Kate does a good job of going to the basket, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line,” Ponce said.
The Lady Tigers seemed to put West on the ropes very early in the fourth with a 12-point lead, as Ponce hit a short bankshot and then Junge drilled a straightaway three. Those points proved to be the beginning of a stunning 21-3 run in the quarter. Junge hit another three, but also scored in transition twice and assisted some teammates.
“Reilly is doing things well and she fought through illness (Tuesday) for her team,” Hill said. “She’s the oil that makes the machine work.”
Before putbacks by Ponce and Goebel, Potter scored inside. She tallied a steal and assist on the second Junge three, and the sophomore also led the team with five rebounds after halftime. Freshman Madi Gibson and Goebel each had four boards in the half.
“Kelsey really gets after it; she’s fun to watch,” Hill said. “I tell her to keep hustling and rebounding and everything else will fall into place. Madi does a great job on the boards, plus her decision making with the ball is so good after she secures a rebound.”
Ponce credited her young teammate.
“For a freshman, Madi is really experienced and she’s doing great this year,” Ponce said. “She’s a great asset to the team.”
The run ended with seven very quick points, all of which were created off of steals.
“That’s the best run we’ve had so far this season,” Hill said. “We finally got clicking on all cylinders, plus I think we might have worn them down like we wanted to. It was a great run and a fun one.”
The Lady Tigers will now begin play in the Dublin Athletic Booster Club Tournament on Thursday against Tolar at noon.
“We can do a better job blocking out, and on our free throws,” Ponce said.