Hot start, cold finish for Runnin' Tigers in semis, tournament

Travis M. Smith Managing Editor | @travis5mith

GLEN ROSE – Basketball is often a game of scoring runs and Saturday in the semifinals of the Glen Rose Lions Club Invitational was case and point for the Runnin’ Tigers.

Despite jumping out to an 18-7 lead during the game’s opening minutes after hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back buckets from three-point land, Glen Rose ran headfirst into an ice cold brick wall over the next three-and-a-half quarters.

The seven-point (10-3) Glen Rose first quarter lead dwindled to two points by halftime and was erased less than two minutes into the third quarter before the Leopards of (8-3) Lorena’s eventual, 69-58, victory.

The Runnin’ Tigers were held to 40 points after scoring 18 in the game’s opening four minutes and 19 points during the second and third quarters combined.

Tucker Garza led the way for Glen Rose in the scoring department with a game-high 22 points, and Wyatt Goebel chipped in another 16 points of his own.

Devin Crawford reached the double-digit plateau with 10 points, while Cashion Kilpfell scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter. Bailey Holder, who found himself in foul trouble before eventually fouling out on a very questionable blocking call early in the fourth quarter, notched two points and Logan Thames rounded out the scoring with one.

The Runnin' Tigers finished the Glen Rose Lions Club Invitational with a 3-2 mark, and its 2-1 record in pool play notched it a spot as the No. 1 seed from pool B in the Gold Bracket.

Glen Rose will take six days off before returning to the court for a road tilt against Godley on Friday and then another 11 days off before heading to the Buffalo Christmas Tournament Dec. 29-31.

The game

Goebel knocked down the game’s first basket, and was followed by a pair of treys from Crawford and three more from Garza to build the Glen Rose lead to a quick 18-7 over the opening four minutes.

Lorena’s offense began to awaken late in the quarter. After the Leopards banked three off the glass, sank another from the elbow extended and made an easy transition basket in the lane, they found themselves on a 9-0 run. The run brought Lorena to within four points with less than two minutes to play in the first quarter.

The hot shooting start faded quickly for the Runnin’ Tigers – very quickly. Glen Rose finished the quarter by missing its last nine shots from the field, including five from three-point land. Goebel and Garza managed to combine for three free throws to help take a 21-14 lead into the second quarter.

Glen Rose opened the second quarter on a 6-2 run to extend its lead to 11 points, 27-16, and the lead remained after Holder took a textbook charge in the defensive lane with six minutes to play in the half.

It was not long before a 7-0 Lorena run pulled the Leopards within four points, 27-23, with under two minutes to go in the half, but Garza’s fourth three-ball of the contest put an end to the Glen Rose drought. Goebel responded with two more points in the lane on the Runnin’ Tigers ensuing possession, but Lorena answered right back with another bucket from beyond the arc.

The Lorena basket was followed by two consecutive offensive fouls called on Glen Rose in a suddenly whistle-heavy contest. Lorena capitalized and pulled within two points for the first time in the semifinal matchup with fewer than 30 ticks remaining before the break. The 32-30 Glen Rose lead held into the second half of play.

Garza led the Glen Rose offensive attack at the break with four baskets from behind the arc for a game-high 12 points, while Goebel added nine points, Crawford chipped in eight, Holder two and Thames one. Thus far in the contest, Holder’s two fouls and the team’s abrupt cold streak from the field were the only worrisome spots heading into the final 16 minutes.

A turnover on the Runnin’ Tigers’ first possession of the second half led to a transition layup and a tie game, but Crawford’s assist to a slashing Garza on the ensuing possession regained the two-point lead.

The seemingly inevitable lead change happened on the Leopards’ next possession after a drilled three pointer from the top of the arc with 6:04 to go in the third quarter. The lead grew to three after a Crawford turnover on the offensive end, and again to six after a missed shot led to a transition three for the Leopards.

The Runnin’ Tigers’ scoring drought continued with under two minutes to play in the third quarter and the Leopards lead ballooned to 11 points, 44-34. Goebel finally put three points on the board after he converted on an tough, and-one opportunity with 1:16 reaming in the quarter and Garza did the same 54 seconds later. The once 12-point lead for the Runnin’ Tigers early in the second quarter was a nine-point deficit as the two teams entered the fourth.

The Leopards held a 49-40 advantage and all of the momentum in the gym with eight minutes to play, and the Runnin’ Tigers never regained their rhythm on offense. Glen Rose eventually fell to Lorena, 69-58.