Runnin' Tigers get bye week before start of district play

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter

GLEN ROSE — According to Glen Rose Runnin’ Tigers basketball coach Will Bryant, the bye week just before the start of district play couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’ve been on the road for a month and everyone is a little bit gassed,” he said. “The second half of this week will be a good chance to hit the reset button, get our legs back underneath us, get some guys well and be ready to go for the next four weeks and beyond.”

Glen Rose's Bryce Birl, seen here in the Tigers' 80-51 victory over Mineral Wells last Friday night, led the Tigers with 15 points in the win over Kennedale on Tuesday.

The Tigers will open district play on Tuesday night at Lampasas in a doubleheader with the Lady Tigers.

“District is going to be a dog fight every single night,” Bryant said. “I know that sounds cliche, but I really believe that. The road environments in this district are tough. We will have to be ready to go every single Tuesday and Friday if we want to give ourselves a chance to repeat.”

In addition to Glen Rose, district foes Lampasas (17-10) and Brownwood (16-7) have winning records, followed by Gatesville (11-13) and Stephenville (6-15).

The Tigers improved to 17-5 with a 49-48 squeaker at Kennedale on Tuesday night in the final tune-up before district.

“We were short-handed, and I’m just really proud of these guys for showing some serious guts and finding a way to get it done,” Bryant said. “I challenged them to dig deep and lock in on the defensive end and they did just that.”

The lead changed hands or the game was tied 24 times against the Wildcats before the Tigers built a five-point lead at 47-42 on a three-point play by Dylan Ellis with 3:34 left in the game.

The Wildcats cut to one at 49-48 on a three-point play with 1:50 left, and after drawing an offensive foul on the Tigers, they had the ball with a chance to win with 44 seconds left.

“I told them to get over it,” Bryant said of the miscue. “We have the lead going into the last possession of the game, so get a stop and we win. We created some confusion for them on that last possession, and I was really surprised they waited until the final buzzer to get a shot off.”

The Wildcats worked the ball until firing up a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left, and they got the carom and fired up a two-point that veered off as well.

Bryce Birl paced the Tigers with 15 points, while Ellis added 14 and Caden Smith finished with 12.

The Tigers faced a seven-point deficit in the first quarter, but they battled back and tied the score at 9-9 on a bucket by Smith and two by Ellis.

Birl hit a triple at the end of the quarter to trim the lead to one. Over the next two and a half quarters, neither team led by more than three before Glen Rose led by five with just under four minutes left in the game.

At Mineral Wells last Friday night, Smith scored 21 points, and Cross Arrington and Ellis added 20 and 18 points, respectively, in the 80-51 win over the Rams.