The Lady Tigers might not have played their best game on Tuesday night, but their performance was far too good for visiting Hamilton to hang around.
Glen Rose (9-0), No. 17 in the TABC 3A rankings, allowed just nine points through three quarters in a 58-19 victory. With that being said, coach Sheree Hill holds her team to a high standard.
“I thought we played sluggish defensively and we can’t get in a habit of that,” Hill said. “(Hamilton was) struggling to score, but it’s about us not moving our feet, not talking – it just wasn’t our typical effort. We have to play better defense.”
Sophomore Ashlan Bernard (6 points, 2 rebounds, assist, 2 steals) was one of six Lady Tigers to score at least six points.
“I had fun (Tuesday) and I thought we played as a team,” Bernard said. “Everyone had a chance to score and play. My teammates tell me to calm down when I’m out there.
“They help me out a lot. I feel more comfortable every time I get out there.”
In limited playing time, Kayla Goebel (12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals) and Destiny Ponce (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) both scored in double figures. Goebel hit the only two threes for Glen Rose in the win, including one in the opening moments.
“For any player, when you hit shots early, it helps you relax and just play,” Hill said. “Of course, if you miss, a good player doesn’t let it worry them and just keeps shooting.”
The next players on the scoring ladder were Reilly Junge (9 points, rebound, 4 assists, 5 steals) and Kelsey Potter (7 points, assist, 2 steals, block).
“We have a long weekend ahead of us,” Hill said, regarding the fact that Junge and a few other players were out of the game longer than usual. “Of course, Reilly loves to play, but I thought this was a time to rest some of our players a little more and get the young ones playing time, because they need experience. It was a perfect situation to do that.”
Other scorers included Kiffany Kelly (6 points, 7 rebounds, assist), Shelby Rotan (4 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Madi Gibson (3 points, 8 rebounds steal).
“Shelby was full of energy, working hard,” Hill said. “She got a couple of fouls I thought were questionable, but she did a good job.”
In the first quarter, Junge and Goebel came firing out of the gate to each make two of the team’s first four baskets for a 9-0 lead. Potter later hit a short bankshot, as Hamilton got very few shot attempts and trailed 12-2 after one.
The Lady Tigers had eight steals in the second quarter, as Junge, Goebel and Potter (block) each snagged two. Glen Rose actually led 24-2 late in the second quarter on the way to a 28-6 halftime score.
“We got some easy buckets in transition, and that was something we talked about before the game,” Hill said. “We want at least 50 percent or more of our points to come off of pressure, defense, etc.”
After six rebounds in the first quarter, Glen Rose had at least eight in each remaining quarter.
“Hopefully we’re doing what we need to do to be successful rebounding, such as blocking out,” Hill said. “We were effective; I just want us to do it the right way.”
Glen Rose was crashing the offensive boards in the third quarter, as Bernard and Ponce each scored on putbacks.
“I get really excited when I do that,” Bernard said considering she’s one of the team’s smaller players. “I’ll try to do it more often.”
Junge scored in transition after a steal, but Hamilton was also struggling with unforced turnovers and Glen Rose headed to the fourth with a 42-9 lead.
Potter, Kelly and Goebel all drained midrange jumpers in the fourth, while Kelly and Gibson scored on putbacks.
“Kiffany has been sick this week, but I thought she did a great job anyway,” Hill said. “We’re working on those midrange jumpers, and Kelsey definitely improving there. She had some pretty shots.”
Bernard did a nice job handling the ball with Junge out of the game, as she made a steal and found Goebel for a three-pointer.
“I grew up handling the ball, so I enjoy do it,” Bernard said. “I also like playing wing, too.”
Gibson had a team-high three rebounds in the fourth, and tied Goebel for the team lead overall with eight.
“Madi did a good job of going up and pulling the ball down,” Hill said. “I count on her to rebound well.”
Hamilton was able to make a couple of threes and actually exceeded its point total from the first three quarters combined with 10. Ponce stole the ball and completed an and-one play to finalize the score.
“Hamilton has a young lady who can hit threes; when we fell back in a zone it opened up for her,” Hill said.
The Lady Tigers open their Luminant/Glen Rose Lions Club Tournament on Thursday at 6:20 p.m. in the Red Gym against Joshua. The Lady Tiger JV plays in the Red Gym that day at 10:20 a.m. against Fort Worth Christian.
“We want to get better every game,” Hill said. “We’ll play some tough opponents, so it will be a test. We have a difficult first-round opponent in Joshua, so we have to be ready.”
Bernard is excited to see if her team can maintain its strong play.
“They won’t be easy teams, so we’ll have to play really good as a team – keep up what we’re doing,” she said. “I really hope we win it.”