The Tucumcari Rattlers are no longer undefeated, but it took one of the best teams in the state, Pecos, to beat them, and it was a battle for Pecos squad to hold down the Rattlers.
In fact, the Rattlers went two for three over the weekend at the Lion Classic Invitational tournament in Santa Rosa, losing to the Pecos Panthers 76-60 on Thursday, Jan. 8, but then defeating the Moriarty Junior Varsity 70-46 the following day and then defeating Monte Del Sol 74-62 on Saturday.
“I was a little afraid we weren’t quite in the right place to take on Pecos when we did,” said head Rattler coach John Span about the Rattler’s first loss of the season. “They (Pecos) are a very, very good team.”
The Panthers, who are ranked in the top five in New Mexico, jumped out to a quick lead over the Rattlers and never relinquished it. In fact, they expanded their lead in every quarter beginning in the first period.
In the fist quarter, behind the hot shooting of Joseph Aragon, who hit for seven in that period, the Rattler’s scored 14. But the Panthers also had a man who had a hot hand. Josh Armijo hit for eight of their first period 17 points giving the Panthers a three point lead.
Perhaps the toughest quarter for the Rattlers was the second as they were outscored by six, 22-16.
In the second half Chris McCasland tried to make up the difference with hot shooting from both the floor and the freethrow line. However, it was just not enough. It did however contribute to McCasland being named to the all tournament team.
Tcum 14 16 17 13=60
PECOS 17 22 19 18=76
Tucumcari: Nick Wiegel 9, Nemie Salvador 4, Larry Roybal 2, Joseph Aragon 13, Chris McCasland 18, Ray Johnson 6, Felimon Chaves 4, Justin Galvan 4. Three pointers: Aragon 1.
Pecos: Jaral Ortiz 4, Craig Vigil 3, Israel Perea 7, Josh Armijo 20, Ira Roybal 15, Sean Finley 18, Jody Herrera 9. Three pointers: Vigil 1, Armijo 3, Roybal 1.
The Moriarty Junior Varsity Pintos gave the Rattlers much less trouble than the Panthers did the evening before. In fact, the Tucumcari squad dominated the scoring in the contest in every quarter but the final one.
So dominating was the Tucumcari team that in two quarters they either doubled or more than doubled the Moriarty team’s score. In the second period they outscored the Pintos 16 to 7 and in the third period they out pointed Moriarty 20-10.
Once again the lion’s share of the scoring fell to Aragon and McCasland with Aragon hitting for 17 for the day and McCasland hitting for 15. They were joined in double figures by Robert Garcia who accounted for 10, the majority of them coming in the final period and by Ray Johnson who also hit for 10 the majority of his coming in the first half.
Tcum 15 16 20 19=70
Moria 9 7 10 20=46
Tucumcari: Nick Wiegel 3, Matt Braziel 2, Nemie Salvador 2, Larry Roybal 5, Joseph Aragon 17, Chris McCasland 15, Ray Johnson 10, Robert Garcia 10, Felimon Chavez 4. Three pointers: Aragon 3, Johnson 2.
Moriarty: Jorden Allcorn 4, Nick Popovich 3, Chris Hibbs 1, Kyle Smith 3, Deryl Aragon 1, Jacky Sin 1, Daniel Pierco 17, Josh Sparks 9, Justin Smyth 3, Steve Murillo 2.
Monte de Sol
On Saturday, the Rattlers went against the scrappy Mente de Sol squad a team that was known for its run and gun style that matched up well with Tucumcari’s style of offense, but at the end it was the Rattler’s win 74-62.
It was indeed an offensive type of game with Tucumcari jumping out to a quick lead behind Nemie Salvador who had been nursing his injured ankle until recently, but during this game indicated he had achieved what has to be considered a healthy status. He scored six points in the first period and two in the first and fourth periods.
His six points set the stage for the a 23-15 point lead by the Rattlers.
Another player who was a stage setter at the very least, was Felimon Chavez whose three point game was dead on. Chavez seemed to have a radar controled three point shot against Monte de Sol. He hit from the three point distance five different times, twice in the first period, twice in the second and once in the final period of play to lead all scores for the Rattlers although he never hit a two-point shot during the game.
Tcum 23 18 12 21=74
Monte 15 15 16 16=62
Tucumcari: Nick Wiegel 4, Nemie Salvador 10, Larry Roybal 6, Joseph Aragon 12, Chris McCasland 14, Ray Johnson 9, Robert Garcia 2, Felimon Chavez 17. Three pointers Chavez 5, Aragon 2, Johnson 1.
Monte de Sol: Kelly Merker 17, Joey Galassini 4, Bill Hyde 19, Brandon Brown 10, Chris Romero 12. Three pointers: Galassini 1, Brown 1.