Tiger basketball fielded its full roster for the first time on Tuesday night, as it gave visiting West a four-quarter fight.
Glen Rose (1-1) led nearly the whole game, but West took a lead with 2:10 remaining during a 9-2 run to squeak out a 50-48 win.
“Basically we panicked at the end, but we haven’t worked on those late situations with everyone, considering this was the first game for many,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “The guys are trying hard, but with one day of practice our organization wasn’t where it needed to be. The guys who have been out here were responsible on some of the late turnovers; we can’t have that. Most of (West’s) 17 points in the fourth were off of our turnovers.”
The top Tiger scorers were Ben Coppock (14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals), Colton Bretton (12 points, 10 rebounds, assist, steal) and Stetson Overton (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals). Other scorers were Curry Mapes (4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, steal), Jeffery Harris (4 points, 6 rebounds) and Hayden Bach (3 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists).
As Glen Rose won the first quarter 14-13, Mapes started his season fast with four rebounds.
“Curry is a competitor with a lot of athletic smarts, so he’ll be a valuable part of this team,” Roberts said.
West made a couple of early threes, but Overton and Bach were each able to make one for Glen Rose. Coppock helped his team get started with the game’s first four points, while Overton stole the ball and scored in transition.
“Stetson doesn’t get a lot of breaks or credit out there; he gets fouled a lot and the officials don’t seem to call it,” the coach said. “He has a lot of heart, plus he’s a good shooter.”
The Tigers were at their best in the second quarter to win it 14-9. Harris and Overton each made threes, while Bretton began to find his offensive rhythm with his second layup of the game and then a short jumper just before halftime. Both of his baskets in the quarter were assisted by Mapes.
“I think Jeff is putting a little too much pressure on himself, but he can shoot and we also need him to play more physical,” Roberts said. “He’s getting good experience.”
It was the only quarter where West was held to single digits.
“We’ve always been a strong defensive team; my focus is on scoring more points and reducing our turnovers,” Roberts said. “Missed shots are part of the game. Turnovers are, too, but that’s the part we can control.”
A Harris free throw put Glen Rose up seven early in the third quarter, but West began to steadily narrow the gap and it trailed just 36-33 through three. After Bach assisted Overton on a three-pointer, Mapes found Bretton yet again for a short jumper. On the heels of a West three, Bretton got the ball to Coppock for a layup and then a West transition hoop off a steal closed out the quarter.
“Their defense was a little better (in the second half) and we didn’t give ourselves a chance offensively,” Roberts said. “We kept it simple (Tuesday) to help our new guys, but as we get more practice in we’ll bring more variety to it.”
Coppock converted a midair putback early in the fourth and then Bretton delivered two baskets to keep his team in front, but West was humming offensively and a runner off glass put the visitors up 44-43 with 2:10 left.
Though Bach’s sixth assist helped Coppock get a layup, West managed to get a steal and complete an and-one play to take the lead for good. A 9-2 West run had Glen Rose down four with 21 seconds left, due primarily to subpar passing by the home team.
“We turned our back on the defender, which reduces your view of the floor,” Roberts said. “We’ll have to execute better against pressure.”
Mapes took an Overton pass and banked in a three with eight seconds left to keep the pressure on West (48-49).
“We needed that shot and Curry is an excellent shooter,” Roberts said.
Bretton, who grabbed six rebounds in the fourth quarter, took a midrange jumper with time running out that would’ve tied the game after West made one of two at the line, but it didn’t fall.
“Colton did some good things offensively and he even had a good look there at the end,” Roberts said. “He can shoot the ball, plus he’s a good rebounder who plays good defense.”
The Tigers will begin play in the Van Tournament on Thursday against Paris North Lamar at 6:50 p.m.
“We’re going to have one more practice and then go play four games,” Roberts said. “It may take some time to get better as we learn on the run. That’s a great tournament (in Van). We love going over there and facing strong competition.”