On Friday afternoon with a trip to the Luminant/Glen Rose Lions Club Tournament championship on the line, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets made just enough plays to edge the host Glen Rose Tigers 46-43.
Glen Rose (6-4) won the second and fourth quarters, but the Yellow Jackets – No. 9 in the TABC 3A rankings – were a bit more consistent offensively to get the win. The Tigers weren’t able to carry over their scorching hot shooting from Thursday night.
“I think a lot of (our shooting trouble) has to do with Stephenville,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “They run a different kind of defense than we’ve faced so far, and we weren’t able to create some things off our defense to get us some better shots. We need some time to work on our half-court offense.
“Inside shots weren’t falling and that’s been a key for us, but that’s a very good team we played. If we get a break here or there, it could’ve gone the other way.”
Ben Coppock (16 points, 13 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks) played very well to lead the Tigers. Other scorers were Stetson Overton (8 points, 2 rebounds, steal), Colton Bretton (7 points, 7 rebounds), Hayden Bach (5 points, 3 assists, steal), Jeffery Harris (3 points, 2 rebounds, assist, steal), Cody Burtscher (2 points, 3 rebounds, assist) and Hayden Holder (2 points).
The Tigers got into trouble with their offense in the first and third quarters, scoring just seven points in each.
“We were too passive in those quarters, but when we did get aggressive we weren’t in control,” Roberts said. “We also gave up too many easy baskets in transition.”
In the first quarter, Stephenville made three and-one baskets and was able to complete two of them with a made free throw on the way to a 13-7 lead. Although Bretton started fast with five rebounds, the Tigers had few offensive rebounds and trouble hitting shots.
“Rebounding will always be a key for us,” Roberts said. “We just needed a few more offensive rebounds. When you lose by three, it sure is tough to see those and-one plays they had. We made some poor decisions on defense; we just have to move our feet and don’t jump.”
Although a Stephenville corner three completed an 8-0 run to open the second quarter, the Tiger offense had its best output by far in the frame to win it 17-13. Coppock began to heat up with a pull-up bankshot and a layup while he also took a charge. The Tigers were not playing good transition defense, however, which brought a timeout from Roberts.
Bach was pretty sharp most of the quarter with five points and three assists.
“Hayden made a lot of good plays in the second quarter,” Roberts said. “Then he went through a spurt where he was turning it over, particularly when he’d jump in the air and then look to pass. Instead of saying it’s his fault, I say we need more practice on that series of plays so we can execute better.”
Stephenville really shot corner three-pointers well, making three in the first half.
“We knew Stephenville shoots the corner three very well, but they do a great job of executing on offense and we weren’t quick enough on our rotation,” the coach said.
The Tigers did manage to end the half on an 8-1 run, as Overton and Bretton knocked down threes.
“It was big to take momentum into the half with those threes; it can pay off,” the coach said.
The Tigers had a difficult time in a third quarter they lost 11-7, and Coppock single-handedly kept Glen Rose in the game with five points and four rebounds. He grabbed an offensive rebound and drilled a corner three while also scoring in transition after a steal.
“Ben is continuing to play well,” Roberts said. “I was proud of Hayden (Holder) coming in there and scoring a bucket when Ben was out. That four-position is very important to us.”
At the third quarter buzzer, a straightaway Stephenville three fell for a 37-31 Jacket lead.
“We thought that was a travel before the three, and when he made it I told our coaches that could be a deciding factor,” Roberts said. “Of course, it is just one play.”
For the third quarter in a row, the Jackets began the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. The Tigers were still lacking in offensive rebounds and missing inside shots, but Coppock broke the drought with a putback and then Overton buried a wing three.
Coppock was able to complete an and-one play via another putback and Overton answered a Jacket hoop with a midrange jumper for a three-point game with two minutes left.
“We have guys who aren’t afraid to shoot,” Roberts said. “We wanted to get Stetson a shot there toward the end.”
Coming out of a Stephenville timeout, the Tigers missed a three that would’ve tied the game. Bach then stole the ball and was ruled to have stepped out of bounds. The Tigers eventually had to foul and Stephenville made free throws for a five-point lead.
“We almost got a steal there at the end,” Roberts said. “Stephenville was probably fortunate it wasn’t a turnover – that’s basketball. The opportunity was there for us. As long as we’re taking good shots I’m okay; missing shots is part of basketball.”
Burtscher made a putback in the final seconds and a Jacket missed a free throw, but Coppock wasn’t able to hit a three-quarter court shot as time expired.
Glen Rose will return to action in the third-place game on Saturday, which will be played in Tiger Arena at 3 p.m.
“This was more about Stephenville being a really good team than us playing bad,” Roberts said. “It’s been a great tournament for us so far and hopefully we can end it on a winning note (Saturday).”