By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
It was a night of contrasts Tuesday night at the Snake Pit at Tucumcari.
The Lady Rattlers lost 41-39 in the closing seconds of the game, while the Rattlers won 70-34.
The Lady Rattlers missed four free throws. The Cowgirls missed 14 free throws.
The House Cowgirls started Tuesday night’s game short one player. Coach Aprile Lee had concerns before the game.
“We only have six girls because one of our players is sick,”said Lee. “We will have to be careful with the fouls.”
Although the Cowgirls only had one reserve, they matched the Lady Rattlers pace through out the game.
In the final period, the Lady Rattlers were leading 39-36 with less than a minute left on the clock House’s Sara Lee hit a 3-pointer and tied the game.
A foul sent Shannan Lane to the free throw line for House. With a chance to win it for the Cowgirls, Lane made both of the free throws and clinched the win for the Cowgirls 41-39.
“When I was at the free throw line I had to block out everything around me,” said Lane. “I knew that the game was ridding on my free throws so I focused and prayed they went in.”
The concern for the Cowgirls was fouls but it was the Lady Rattlers who drew the first foul call. They were the first to get into foul trouble late in the second period. And by the end of the game, the Lady Rattlers had 21 fouls to the Cowgirls 12.
The Cowgirls missed many field goals, helping keep the Lady Rattlers in the lead. But fouls from the Rattlers sent the Cowgirls to the line and gave them a chance to chip away at the lead. The Lady Rattlers missed fewer field goals and free throws than the Cowgirls but fell short due to the foul shots.
“We broke down mentally,” said Rattlers forward T’Shawna Span. “We need to stay focused throughout the entire game in order to win.”
l Ashley Lopez had 11 points making 5 of 9 field goals, had 7 rebounds and made 1 of 2 free throws.
l T’Shawna Span had 10 points making 5 of 12 field goals, had 9 rebounds and
one assist for 10 points.
l Samantha Montano 7 points making 2 of 11 field goals, had 6 rebounds, made 3 of 6 free throws and had 3 assists.
l Shelbi McElroy had 9 points, making 2 of 12 field goals, had 15 rebounds,
and made 5 of 8 free throws.
l Shannan Lane had 15 points making 4 of 15 field goals, had 9 rebounds and made 7 of 8 free throws.
l Sara Lee had 16 points making 2 of 22 field goals, had 5 rebounds made 6 of 14 free throws, 2 assists and made 2 3-pointers.
The Cowboys came out and played aggressively during the first two periods of the game. Trailing only by two points at the end of the first period, the Cowboys continued to play the Rattlers with intensity.
The Rattlers began to match the Cowboys pace and led at half-time 28-18.
“I told the guys never underestimate anybody,” said John Span. “The Cowboys came out and exploded in the first half. Last time they played us, they were a little intimidated but not this time. They played very aggressively and that is what kept them in the ball game right up until the end. I have to hand it to them, they played their hearts out and left it out on the floor and I admire that.”
In the third period, the Cowboys momentum helped them to outscore the Rattlers but they were still trailing 31-24. The Cowboys scoring came to an abrupt halt in the opening minutes of the final period. They tried to regain their momentum but it had shifted in favor of the Rattlersr. Stolen passes and scoring runs from seniors Drew White and Josh Villegas, junior Andrez Apodaca and sophomore A.J. Trujillo helped to add to the Rattlers’ growing lead.
With two minutes left in the game, Villegas stuffed House’s Jonas Moya shot drawing applause from the crowd. Villegas smiled and said, “That was for my mom.” Villegas’ mom was in the stands.
With a healthy lead, Coach span put his non-starters on the court in the closing minutes of the game.
“This win will give us a little confidence boost and help us prepare for our game against Fort Summer,” said Villegas. “I dedicated that block to my mom because she does not get to come out and watch me play all the time and it
meant a lot that she is here to see me play.”
l Drew White had 19 points making 7 of 15 field goals, had 7 rebounds and made 5 of 10 free throws.
l Josh Villegas had 17 points making 7 of 18 field goals, had 11 rebounds and made 3 of 6 free throws.
l A.J. Trujillo had 10 points making 5 of 8 field goals
l Andrez Apodaca had 7 points making 3 of 6 field goals and 1 of 2 free throws
l Lee Griggs had 12 points making 6 of 10 field goals and had 5 rebounds
l Chris Wooldridge had 8 points making 4 of 12 field goals
Tucumcari’s Rattlers next game is 4:30 p.m. Thursday against the Fort Sumner Foxes at Fort Sumner.
House’s next game is at 4 p.m., Thursday against the Clovis Christian Eagles at House.