By William Thompson
The Tucumcari High School boys basketball is now winless in district play after a 59-43 loss at Clayton Friday. The Yellow Jackets hit a number of three-point shots while the Rattlers went 0 for 13 from beyond the three-point line.
Clayton went up 9-0 early but Tucumcari stormed back to take an 11-10 lead into the second quarter. The Rattlers could not score the first three minutes of the second quarter. The Rattlers dropped their usual fast pace as they were content to walk the ball down the court. The Yellow Jacket defenders stayed back in a half-court set.
The Rattlers continued to miss some scoring opportunities near the basket as they have done often in recent games.
Down 18-11 in the second quarter, Rattler Josh Villegas scored five straight points. Clayton went up by 10 later in the game, but the Rattlers managed to narrow the gap to 30-24 at the half.
It took about three minutes for Tucumcari to score in the third quarter as Eric Holt finally nailed a bucket to pull Tucumcari within five points.
Clayton wound up surging ahead by 13 just before the final period. Tucumcari was simply not keeping up with Clayton in the shooting department.
Clayton answered every Rattler attempt at a rally in the fourth quarter. As in previous Tucumcari losses, the Rattlers were forced to foul often late in the game and their opponent capitalized by hitting free throws.
Villegas was Tucumcari’s high scorer with nine. Matt Braziel added eight and he also had eight steals for the game. Nemie Salvador, who hit for 22 in Tuesday’s game against Texico, scored only four points against Clayton.
Up next for Tucumcari is an away game at Portales on Tuesday. The JV boys will play at 4 p.m. and the boys’ varsity game will follow.
Tucumcari’s homecoming is next Friday against the Floyd Broncos. Games begin at 4 p.m.
Scoring by quarter
Tucumcari: 11 13 7 12 = 43
Clayton: 10 20 24 15 = 59
N. Salvador 4, M. Braziel 8, C. McCasland 5, N. McDonald 1, J. Villegas 8, E. Holt 6, R. Munoz 6.