Rattlers claim ownership of Dons game

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Rattler Josh Villegas may have had his head in his hands on the sidelines during the third quarter of Friday night’s game, but it was held high at the end of the fourth as he high-fived his teammates after a 58-55 win over West Las Vegas.

“I was bummed out,” Villegas said about his missed free throws he was lamenting on the sidelines, “but now I feel pretty good, man. The coaches taught me all I know.”

And Coach John Span will continue to teach the free throw, something he pep talked his team about at least twice during the evenly-matched game and loudly afterwards in the locker room.

“I had them doing free throws this morning,” he said, living up to his promise after the Rattlers’ first game on Tuesday was sorely lacking in successful ones.

“We missed a lot of them,” said Jeremy Lopez of the Rattlers second game.

Although a few of Lopez’ missed throws bounced off the rim and onto the fingertips of Villegas, who propelled them in the basket, none of this insured a heavy lead at any time for the Rattlers.

In fact, the Rattlers were down for most of the first half.

“I thought we might lose by the end of the second quarter,” Eric Trujillo said, adding he could have played a better game by boning up on his defense and – yes, his free throw.

“They were a good team,” he said of the Dons.

Rattler Jeremy Lopez agreed the teams were evenly matched. “I’m relieved the game is over.”

West Las Vegas players Julio Montoya and Kenny Lucero said they were more determined than relieved after leaving the locker room after their defeat.

“We just came in, this was our first game,” Montoya said. “We have a lot of work to do, a lot to practice, our defense and our offense.” But not once did he mention the free throw.

1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Total
West Las Vegas 8 17 14 16 55
Tucumcari 6 18 16 18 58

West Las Vegas: Robert Montoya, 12; Jonathan Bustos, 10.
Tucumcari: Josh Villegas, 19; Jeremy Lopez, 11.