By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Rattlers took a sweep from the San Jon Coyotes.
The Lady Rattlers beat the Lady Coyotes 40-25 and the Rattlers upset the Coyotes 67-61 Tuesday night at San Jon.
The girls took to the hardwood first with the Lady Coyotes fresh off the EPAC tournament in Texico. The Lady Rattlers, on the other hand, had their last game Dec. 16 at the Route 66 Tournament.
“They were a little rusty in the first half but I am happy with how they played,” said Rattler coach Wayne Ferguson. “The have not played since December and coming back from such a long break was a concern. But the girls started to pick it up in the second half. This win will get us back into the flow of things and will help us prepare for Springer Friday night.”
Both teams found themselves in foul trouble at the end of the first period with 10 fouls each. They had trouble with free throws and field goals. And by the half Tucumcari had the lead, 19-15.
“The long break kind of hurt us and helped us,” said senior guard Cydnie Rich. “We got off to a slow start and we were missing a lot of shots and got into foul trouble early. At half-time, coach told us that we needed to work on getting the ball inside to the open players for points and better control when it came to the fouling.”
The Lady Rattlers came into the second half recharged and took an early lead with sophomore Kadi Powers scoring 18 points, senior Rich made 4 points and 7 rebounds and senior Samantha Montano contributed with two points and six assists.
The Lady Coyotes tried to close the gap but poor passing and missed field goals led to their loss. Coyotes junior Rana Gibson made six points and three rebounds, sophomore Brittany Slutz had six points and four rebounds and junior Gabby Stoner contributed with two points and eight rebounds.
Rattlers senior Josh Villegas scored 36 points, helping pull the Rattlers from an early deficit.
After ending up behind 15-13 with one quarter gone, the Rattlers began to attack the ball both on offense and defense by stealing the ball from San Jon’s handlers and dominating on rebounds. The Rattlers maintained a 10-point lead throughout most of the game. The Coyotes were trailing 51-41 at the end of the third and slowly began to chip away at the Rattlers; lead.
With little more than 16 seconds left in the game the Coyotes only by four. Despite the Coyotes’ efforts the Rattlers won 67-61.
Villegas also pulled down six rebounds for Tucumcari.
Coyotes seniors Richard Vasquez had 12 points, Albert Hood had 8 points and Danny Shetter finished with 13 points.
“We were a little worn down tonight. Losing the EPAC semifinal game against Elida stuck us out in the cold and we were still feeling it the next night against Dora,” said coach Jeremy Stoner. “Rebounding, missed field goals and free throws really hurt us tonight. We started to come back at the end but we need to play consistently throughout the entire game.”