Glen Rose forces overtime in Lions Club Invitational opener

Travis M. Smith Managing Editor | @travis5mith tsmith@theglenrosereporter
Wyatt Goebel finished with 18 points on 6-14 shooting (43 percent), grabbed seven rebounds and dished out two assists in Thursday morning's 65-59 overtime win over China Spring.

GLEN ROSE – Coffee may have been running low inside the hospitality room of the Glen Rose Lions Club Invitational on Thursday morning, but by 9:22 a.m. there was overtime to be played on the hardwood of Tiger Arena.

China Spring had the size, but Glen Rose had the gastric fortitude and late momentum. Clutch free throws down the stretch from Tucker Garza and Wyatt Goebel helped to fuel the 16-9 fourth-quarter run that withered the Cougars’ lead, but it was Cashion Klipfell’s rebound and bounce pass to Ethan Hartman on the left block that led to the game-tying basket at the buzzer.

The buzzer beater was (8-1) Glen Rose’s third this season and all three have come from a different player.

With their defense playing as well as it has all year and the offense finally clicking, the Runnin’ Tigers made quick work of the Cougars in the overtime frame. Glen Rose outscored China Spring 8-2 during the final period and took the opening round of pool play, as well as the tournament opener, 65-59.

“We just started playing better [in the fourth quarter] and I knew that even if we extended the game for four or five more quarters that we were going to be fine,” said Clifton after his team’s come-from-behind win. “We played such a bad first half and it got us out of whack, and even some in the third quarter we didn’t play as well as we could have offensively.

“But in the fourth quarter we found our rhythm and I felt like by the time we got to overtime that because they had lost such a huge lead that we had all of the momentum.”

Garza’s early foul trouble caused the Runnin’ Tigers’ leading scorer over the last two games to sit for the majority of the middle quarters. To make matters worse, starting center Devin Crawford joined four-foul club with 5:24 to play in the third quarter.

Even still, the Tigers continued to plug away after falling behind by as many as 12 points in the third quarter. While the offense was busy shaking the sleep off of its shots, the Glen Rose defense was filling passing lanes with bodies and hands, which was lending to fast break after fast break and shooting foul after shooting foul.

Only problem was that the offense failed to convert on fast break after fast break and free throw after free throw. As a team, Glen Rose converted on just 15-of-its-27 free throw attempts (56 percent) – a maddening stat for any coaching staff.

“It was frustrating because we never got to play offense and felt like we were always playing defense,” Clifton admitted. “We would get a steal, miss a layup, they would get the rebound and now we are right back on defense again. That was frustrating.

“Then they went to a stall game which allowed us to collect a little bit, and we couldn’t get fast breaks so we had to run our offense a little bit. I thought we did a really good job in the fourth quarter of just chipping away a little at a time and not just settling for three-point shots. It was a good way to come back and win.”

Brazos Overton did not record a point in the win, but logged quite a few minutes at point guard while Garza was sitting in foul trouble. The key stat for the five-foot-seven junior was the donut he recorded in the turnover column.

“Brazos did a great job of taking care of the ball for us [with Garza in foul trouble],” Clifton said. “I thought he did a good job of doing everything we asked him to.” 

Thanks largely in part to their hot hands in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Runnin’ Tigers finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor (16-32) and 29 percent from behind the three-point line (6-21). Even with the Cougars holding the edge in the size department, the Runnin’ Tigers still controlled the slight edge on the glass, 27-26, and committed six fewer turnovers.

Goebel and Garza picked up where they left off on Tuesday and led the team with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Klipfell went a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc en route to one of his better scoring performances of the year with 12 points, while Hartman added eight points and eight rebounds, Bailey Holder pitched in seven points and seven rebounds, and Devin Crawford scored three points while he dished out a team-high four assists.

Glen Rose will return to the court at 8 p.m. to square off in the arena with (6-4) Life Oak Cliff in the second of its three games of pool play. Glen Rose will then complete pool-play action at 2 p.m. on Friday, when it takes on (4-3) Forth Worth Christian.

The turning point

A missed free China Spring free throw found its way into the hands of Garza who then fed the ball up court to Kilpfell for a corner three in transition. A missed opportunity on the front-end of a one-and-one for the Runnin’ Tigers on their ensuing possession was followed by 48 seconds of ball control offense by the Cougars. China Springs passingly, literately and figuratively, took its 48-41 lead into the final eight minutes of regulation.

Through the first 3:13 of the fourth quarter, Glen Rose’s only offense came via the charity stripe. Which was not necessarily a bad thing, because unlike the first half the fouls seemed to finally be going to in the Runnin’ Tigers’ favor. Garza converted on two of his three after being fouled on a three-point shot and Goebel followed by sinking both of his to pull the Runnin’ Tigers within six, 52-48.

Crawford followed a China Spring’s split trip to the line with a bucket and foul from the low block, but couldn’t convert the and-one play. The two points shrunk the deficit to three, 53-50, with a few ticks over two minutes to play in regulation.

Crawford redeemed himself by stepping in front of a Cougar pass on the defensive end. The steal led to a Hartman rebound and basket in the lane, and a one-point China Spring lead.

With 46.6 seconds to play, the Cougars took full advantage of a trip to the line and the two free throws kept their lead to two possessions, 56-52. Glen Rose worked the ball around after a timeout and found Garza along the baseline for an easy two points.

Hartman was called for a block after the China Spring inbound on Glen Rose’s defensive end of the court with 18.12 seconds to play. The Cougars missed a crucial back-end of a one-and-one trip to the line, which put the ball in the Runnin’ Tigers’ possession with the deficit at three.

Glen Rose broke the full-court press and got the ball to Goebel with less than four seconds to play. He made the first free throw to pull the Runnin’ Tigers within two, and Klipfell was there to rebound the second. The forward made a bounce pass from the middle of the lane to Hartman on the left block and his layup fell as the clock expired with the game now tied at 57.

Holder opened the overtime frame with a contested three from the top of the key and Garza followed with a floater from the left block and then again from the right block to extend the Glen Rose lead to seven, 64-57, with 84 seconds to play. Garza added a free throw and China Spring added two before the final-final buzzer and a 65-59 Glen Rose win.