Tigers bounce back from loss with a pair of wins
GLEN ROSE — According to Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers basketball coach Jake Bell, his team learned a valuable lesson in suffering their first loss of the season last week with a 57-52 setback to Aledo.
Now, the true test of his team will come on how they respond.
“Failure is sometimes the greatest fertilizer for future success,” Bell said. “That’s how this loss will serve us going forward. We learned from it and will apply those lessons in future big games.”
The Runnin’ Tigers didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss as less than 24 hours later, they pounded Cleburne 52-27, and three days later, they went on the road and crushed Millsap, 72-32, to improve to 11-1.
Glen Rose hosts Godley on Friday for its final game before the Christmas break. Freshman (Red Gym) and JV (Arena) play at 5 p.m. and the varsity follows at 6:15 p.m.
In both wins over Cleburne and Millsap, the Runnin’ Tigers went to their calling card - defense.
“Regardless of who we play, we want to formulate a defensive plan that gets the opposing team out of rhythm and their comfort zone,” Bell said. “We want to control the tempo for the entire game. Our goal is to break the game into four segments and hit our benchmarks defensively for each segment. If you do that, you will be in a great position to win each night.”
The Tigers stormed out to a 14-7 lead against Cleburne at the end of the first quarter. They continued with the defensive intensity and led 29-15 at the break, and never looked back.
In fact, Cleburne never scored more than nine points in any quarter the entire game.
Matthew Hammonds led the Tigers with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, while Austin Worthen added 10 points and Cross Arrington added nine.
In the road win over Millsap on Tuesday night, Arrington and Worthen scored 16 each and Hammonds added 15 and Kanyon Keese tallied nine in a game that was never in question as the Tiger defense hounded the Bulldogs all night.
“Our defensive techniques are not perfect at this point in the season, but we did have perfect effort (Tuesday),” Bell said. “I was extremely pleased with our guys' intensity and effort for 32 minutes.”
In the loss to Aledo, the Tigers scored a season-low 12 points in the first half and faced a 21-point deficit at the half.
“Aledo has a very good team this year, and we simply did not play with a purpose and lacked intensity for the first 16 minutes of the game,” Bell said.
In the second half, however, the Tigers fed off the defense to fuel the offense, especially in the fourth quarter when they trailed by 18 going into the final eight minutes.
“Teams will have cold shooting nights, and to combat off nights, defensive intensity and pressure can alleviate a lot of those struggles,” Bell said.
Hammonds, who had just two points in the first half, scored 18 of the Tigers’ 22 points in the fourth quarter to pull the Tigers within striking distance. The Tigers had a shot to tie the game at 55-55 with less than a minute to play, but the triple rimmed off. The Bearcats, who scored just nine points in the quarter, scored late to extend the lead to five at 57-52 where the game ended.
“I’m extremely proud of how they battled back down 25 to give us a chance to win late in the game,” Bell said. “We definitely learned a lot about ourselves as a team in the second half.”
Hammonds finished with 26 points, including five 3-pointers, while Worthen and Kolton Mooney finished with eight points.