The Era Lady Hornets had an opportunity on Tuesday. With a bye week in the middle of the first round of district play, head coach Don Neu didn’t want to let the chance to get better go by the wayside.

So Neu scheduled a matchup against a team two classes up from them in Glen Rose (25-5).

The Lady Hornets (22-4) fought through an off game from their best player and still found themselves with a lead late in the game.

However, Glen Rose pulled away with a 46-36 victory.

Still, the Lady Hornets gained some valuable, late-game experience against a talented team.

“When I found out they were looking for a game, I knew they’d be very good,” Neu said. “They start the year off at like number four or five [in Class 4A] and dropped down to like 15th or 16th. I knew it’d be a good test for us and I was trying to make our schedule as tough as I could.”

Era had a 10-4 lead after the first quarter, but were outscored 15-8 in the second frame to trail 19-18 at halftime.

The Lady Hornets outscored Glen Rose 11-10 in the third quarter to tie the game at 29-29, but Glen Rose used a 17-7 fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

“It wasn’t our best game of the year, but we were up by one with three minutes and 30 seconds left and Glen Rose went up by two with about three minutes left,” Neu said. “Then we had two or three possessions that we missed some shots and then they were able to turn us over two times in a row. They got up by six and then we had to foul. To compete with a 4A school, we had nothing to lose.”

Hope Proffer and Sandra Christian led the team in scoring with nine points while Briana Knabe was held to just six points. Karlee Tucker also added seven points.

The Lady Hornets turned their attention back to district play, where they are 3-0 so far this season with wins over Chico, Muenster and Alvord.

Era will face Poolville on the road Friday, Jan. 18 to close out the first leg of district play.

“They play really good defense,” Neu said. “That’s their strength usually, so I feel like if we can put some points up, we will be OK. It’s always tough going to Poolville.”

Neu said it is extremely important to finish off the first half of district the right way.

“We need to finish the first half with four wins because we all know the second half can be just as tough,” Neu said. “We’ve got to go to Muenster and the good thing is we go to Poolville on Friday and if we can somehow pull that one out, then we get three games at home so I like that.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip