By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Lady Rattlers staved off last-minute rallies Thursday night by the Demons to sweep Dexter at the Snake Pit.
It came down to point guard Ashley Shipley’s free throw giving the Rattlers (4-2) the 56-54)win over the Lady Demons.
“I just thought, breath, take your time and make the shots,” Shipley said.
The Rattlers were leading 56-51 in the closing seconds when Lady Demons Mariah Dutchover sank a desperation three-pointer. The final score by the Lady Demons would have tied the game, if not for Shipley’s foul shots a moment earlier.
However, free throws were not the strong point of the Lady Rattlers against the Lady Demons. Dexter shot 63 percent from the free-throw line, making seven of 11 attempts; the Lady Rattlers shot only 42 percent from the foul line, making six of 14 shots.
Leading the Lady Rattler offense was point guard Alyssa Martinez and forward Kalani French, who accounted for 24 of the team’s 34 points in the second half.
“We had the ambition to win tonight,” said Martinez said the team came out and began to give each other floor space.
“The win is good and even though we looked a bit rusty out there the team managed to play a good game,” said Lady Rattlers head coach Gary Hittson.
Hittson said the Lady Rattlers were able to counter a late-game surge by the Lady Demons’ offense and hold on for the win.
Game time: 6 p.m., today at Ojo Caliente.
The Rattlers 3-4 had a 15-point lead going into the second half of Thursday night’s game against the Demons at the Snake Pit.
That lead quickly diminished as the Demons outscored the Rattlers 16-9 in the third period, led by 18 points from Greg Cabaldon. Cabaldon made five of eight three-pointers in the second half and two field goals.
“We’ve got to finish games,” said John Span, Rattlers head coach.
Span said when the team has a big lead it needs to care of the ball and keep the opposing team from pushing back.
The Demons were poised to take the lead in their late-game rally but two costly turnovers from errant passes gave the Rattlers the break they needed to put points on the board to keep Dexter at bay.
“We shot great from the lin;, we were 90 percent,” said Tyler Ferguson, Rattlers shooting guard.
Ferguson said the team needs to play smarter to keep the lead and prevent teams from coming back in such a way.
“The main thing we need to do is keep the opponents hot shooter from going off on us,” said Daniel Lopez, another Rattlers guard.
Lopez said the team needs to play strong defense and keep the outside shooters from getting open looks at the basket. However, he said it seemed like Cabaldon was going to make his shots no mater what. Cabaldon made them covered and wide open Lopez added.
Lopez led the Rattlers with 18 points, followed by John Paul Garcia with 15 and Zedric Henderson Greene with 12.
The Rattlers will take on the Mesa Vista Trojans today at Ojo Caliente.
Game time: 7 p.m., at Ojo Caliente.