Free throws save Lady Rattlers from defeat

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

Lady Rattler Sam Montano hit a pair of clutch free throws not once, but twice in the final minute of the game to seal a 42-38 homecoming victory Friday over the Lady Broncos of Floyd.

The score was tied 38-38 with less than a minute remaining. Montano stole the ball at mid-court and got fouled on a layup attempt. She took her time and sank two free throws to put Tucumcari up 40-38. Then with five seconds left in the game, Montano went to the line again and hit two more free throws finally putting the game out of reach for Floyd.

“I just shot the free throws like we do in practice,” Montano said. “I just pretended that no one else was there.”

Montano described her relief upon hitting the free throws.
“I told myself, ‘Thank God, the coach isn’t going to yell at me.’”

Tucumcari Coach Alicia Trujillo said Montano did a great job.

“For us to win like this in front of our largest home crowd says a lot,” Trujillo said. “We were able to handle the pressure of that situation. I think this is a first for us since I’ve been coach.”

The Lady Rattlers played their way into a position to win late by finding ways to get Jamie Jones the ball. Jones scored a season-high 25 points, calling for the ball down near the basket and finding the hoop.

Trujillo said Reyna Banuelos did a good job on the defensive end.

“Reyna was blocking out well and she played really hard, Trujillo said.

Banuelos saw more playing time in Amanda Tapia’s absence. Tapia had to attend to her duties as maid of honor to the homecoming queen, and was decked out in a formal gown while her teammates were on the court.

Brandi Arenas gave Tucumcari added spark in the second quarter, fighting for rebounds making a shot off the glass and hitting a couple of free throws.

Scoring by quarter
Tucumcari: 8 10 13 11 = 42
Floyd: 8 14 7 9 = 38

Individual Scoring
Tucumcari: J. Jones 25, W. Spinks 3, S. Montano 5, B. Arenas 4, R. Banuelos 4.
Floyd: B. Paiz 2, K. Johnson 2, R. Blue 2, B. Jaramillo 5, N. Carpenter 9, D. Chenault 6, J. Paiz 2.