Rattlers get set for Thursday showdown

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

The free-throw line is 15 feet from the basket. That’s 5 yards without a defender in your face. It’s 180 inches separating the shooter from one point on the scoreboard.

The math was even simpler Monday afternoon, when Rattler basketball coach John Span said free throws were the determining factor in Saturday’s District 6-2A loss at Clayton.

The 58-56 loss did not derail the Rattlers’ quest for the No. 2 seed in the district. Clayton and Tucumcari (15-10, 3-3) split their two district games, but the Rattlers won out on a point differential tiebreaker due to a five-point victory earlier this season at home.

“We got everything we wanted,” Span said.

The Rattlers received a home game Thursday night. The 6 p.m. game will feature the Rattlers and the winner of Tuesday’s Clayton-Texico game.

In Saturday’s setback, Span said, the Rattlers did most things right, except for the free throws. The host Yellowjackets hit 14-of-22 on the night and won by two over the Rattlers, who hit 11-of-22.

Simply put, Span said, if the Rattlers equal the Yellowjackets at the free-throw line they claim the district’s No. 2 seed without a tiebreaker.

Even coming off of the loss, the Rattlers are confident about where they stand.

“We feel good about the way we’re playing right now,” said senior Nathan McDonald, who led the Rattlers with 22 points. “We just need to hit some free throws and do better running our plays.”

No matter who the Rattlers play, they feel it matters most what they do on their home court.

“They’re both (teams with) great shooters,” McDonald said. “We’ve got to box out and put a hand in their faces.”