Tiger basketball came up against considerable adversity against Eastland in the Coaches vs. Cancer TBC Glen Rose Shootout on Friday, but Glen Rose stood strong and eventually pulled out a 50-43 overtime victory.
The Tigers (7-5) trailed late in the fourth quarter before controlling overtime. Leading scorer Ben Coppock left the game with an injury in the third quarter, which warranted everyone else stepping up.
“We have a lot of kids on the team,” said coach Wayne Roberts. “Other guys have to step up and do their job; I thought they did.”
Hayden Bach (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals) led the charge to victory.
“With such a big part of our team (Coppock) out much of the game, I’m just glad I could step up and help the team,” Bach said.
Other prime scorers were Stetson Overton (9 points, 2 rebounds, assist, 4 steals) and Cody Burtscher (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists).
“Ben is our best player, so it was obviously hard battling without him, but things went our way in overtime,” Burtscher said.
Burtscher hit two critical free throws just to get Glen Rose to overtime, and then he was the premier player in overtime in the senior’s best game of the young season.
“Basketball’s not my main sport, so it’s been kind of hard,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of hard work in the gym. I kept forgetting the plays, but that will come with practice.”
Other scorers included Marquis Holder (7 points, rebound, steal), Colton Bretton (5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, steal), Hayden Holder (3 points, 3 rebounds, steal), Curry Mapes (3 points, assist, 2 steals) and Coppock (1 point, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals).
After Eastland stayed close in the early going, Glen Rose finished the first quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 15-7. Overton had three steals in the first few minutes, including one that resulted in a fast-break layup for him.
“We probably wouldn’t have been in as good of shape without those steals,” Bach said. “We usually do good when we have a good start to the game.”
Bach came out strong with a pair of made free throws and then he successfully attacked the hoop twice.
“Hayden really kept us in the game in the first half,” Roberts said. “What’s hidden is how well he plays on the defensive end. He’s a very good athlete who played one of his best games as a point guard.”
Marquis Holder was ready to play, as he scored inside and later took a Bach pass and buried a straightaway three at the buzzer.
“Marquis showed good awareness and plays like that win games,” Roberts said. “It was definitely a big play.”
Early in the second quarter, Marquis Holder took a charge after Coppock took one in the first.
“That’s a big improvement on our part,” Roberts said. “Taking a charge is like a steal; to me it’s the best defensive play you can make.”
Eastland started the second quarter on an 11-1 run that included a trio of threes.
“We had a couple of missed assignments on defense; we know who the shooters are and we didn’t always get there,” Roberts said. “You have to give them credit; (Eastland) didn’t start practicing until Monday after football ended. They’re well-coached and understand the system (he) runs well.”
Roberts said the Tigers were impatient offensively while Eastland stormed back. Bach took the big runs by each team in stride.
“That’s the way it happens sometimes; you have to play defense all four quarters,” Bach said.
Late in the half, Overton buried a win three and then Bach converted an up-and-under layup to put Glen Rose up 23-22 after two quarters.
“They were giving me good open lanes; I thought I would take advantage of that,” Bach said.
Glen Rose had some trouble at the free throw line, missing four in the half.
“We didn’t do well on the free throw line, so we were fortunate to escape in a close game,” the coach said.
Both offenses seemed to forget to return from the locker room in a 6-6 third quarter.
“We had to make adjustments,” Roberts said. “We didn’t get much out of the press because they were patient and disciplined, so we dropped back into our half-court defense and kept the game close.”
After the first of three Bach steals in the third, he assisted Overton on a wing three.
“I was just anticipating passes and being lucky – right spot, right time,” Bach said.
Later in the quarter, Bach converted a turnaround jumper. The Tigers missed four free throws in the quarter, while Eastland missed three.
Glen Rose seemed to be in good shape early in the fourth, as threes by Hayden Holder and Mapes bookended a Bretton putback.
“Hayden has stepped up real big with his threes, and filling in for Ben,” Bach said.
Roberts liked to see the long-range success.
“We want those guys to have confidence and they knocked down some big shots,” he said.
Eastland fired back with an 8-0 run that included its second and third threes of the quarter to take a two-point lead with just over a minute to go. After an offensive rebound, Burtscher was fouled and headed to the free throw line with less than a minute left. While he missed a pair in the first quarter, Burtscher stepped up and knocked them both down to tie it up at 39-39.
“I was focused on those – really concentrating,” Burtscher said. “Usually when I miss it’s because I don’t use my legs and focus.”
With the seconds ticking away, Bach made a steal to prevent a quality Eastland shot. Eastland would throw up a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer.
“That (steal) kept Eastland from being able to win it in regulation,” Roberts said.
Only one team seemed ready for overtime, as Burtscher put Glen Rose ahead for good with a putback and then banked home a three-pointer.
“I just felt like I was in the right place at the right time on a couple of those and just happened to get the putbacks,” Burtscher said.
Bretton had assisted Burtscher on his three, and it wasn’t long before he passed to Bach for a top-of-the-arc three and an eight-point lead.
“I didn’t realize how deep that three was until after I hit it,” Bach said. “It made this a three-possession game and that might have been what did it for us.”
“That shot was a backbreaker,” the coach said. “I thought Hayden played extremely well in the first half to lead us to the win. He got a little out of control in the second half, so we have to be careful when it’s tight.”
Burtscher added another putback late to ensure victory.
“Cody did exactly what we worked on for free throws with the offensive rebound and putback,” Roberts said. “Every point counts in overtime.”
The Tigers have a stiff challenge on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Shootout against Brock – ranked No. 6 in the TABC 2A standings.
“I think we’ll sit Ben out (Saturday) and give him time to heal since we won’t play again until next Friday,” the coach said. “We have to execute better under pressure, but we’ll enjoy this win and keep working.”