Lady Tigers open the playoffs Thursday with Vernon at Mineral Wells

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter
Glen Rose’s Hazel Hawkins grabs a rebound between two Gatesville players Friday night.
Glen Rose’s Hannah Cantwell swats the ball away for a steal on Friday night in the Lady Tigers’ win over Gatesville.

GLEN ROSE — The Glen Rose Lady Tigers sent their five seniors out in style with an easy 53-31 victory over Gatesville in the final regular-season game of the year on Friday night at Tiger Arena.

“Senior night is very important because those young deserve to be honored for all their hard work over the years,” Glen Rose girls basketball coach Ramsey Ghazal said. “I thought they took those emotions and came out and played very well.”

With the win, the No. 8 Lady Tigers close out the regular season at 23-3 overall and 6-2 in District 6-4A play, placing them second in the district.

Glen Rose opens the playoffs on Thursday night when they meet District 5-4A third-place team Vernon at 5 p.m. at Mineral Wells High School. The time was changed from 6 p.m. due to the possibility of deteriorating weather conditions.

“Now we have to turn our attention to the playoffs,” Ghazal said “Last year, we barely got beat in the third round by the four-time defending state champ who eventually lost in the state finals. Three years ago we barely got beat in the fourth round by the team who eventually made it to state. We know as a program that we belong and that we are capable of making a run to state.”

The Lady Lions finished the season 11-10 overall and 5-5 in district play, and they knocked of Wichita Falls Hirschi and Burkburnett late to take over third place in that district.

“They are quick, athletic and aggressive,” Ghazal said. “We will have to take care of the basketball, defeat their press. We have a size advantage, so I foresee them doubling us inside. Our guards have to be ready for that and be aggressive on offense.”

Should they win, the Lady Tigers could face Decatur (22-3, 11-1) or Bridgeport (17-7, 11-1) in the second round. They play each other Monday night for seeding.

“Our region (Region 1) has 6 of the top 14 teams in state. It’s a tough path to state, and that path this year starts with Vernon,” Ghazal said. “The cliche of ‘one game at a time’ is very true. This is a seven-round fight, and the first round is Vernon.”

On Friday, the Lady Tigers dispatched the Lady Hornets early with a 16-4 first quarter, behind six points from Abby Stephenson and five from Jeana Douglas, and they never looked back. At the half, the score was 32-7.

Four Lady Tigers scored in double-figures led by Douglas’ 15, while Stephenson and Aimee Flippen scored 12 each, and Hannah Cantwell added 10.