By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
To say the Tucumcari Rattlers’ upcoming district games in Santa Rosa on Saturday are going to be exciting would be a grandiose understatement.
“The gym is going to be packed and rocking,” said John Span, Rattlers head coach.
The Rattlers and Lady Rattlers will venture into the Lions Den, where they will fight for first place and the right to host the district championship games.
The Rattlers, 16-5, 5-0, won 61-40 Saturday in Raton and the Lady Rattlers 15-7, 4-1, beat the Lady Tigers 61-39; each team remained in first place of the district 5 3A standings.
On the same day, the Santa Rosa Lions, 17-8, 4-1, beat Clayton 67-50 and the Lady Lions, 12-12, 4-1, edged the Lady Yellowjackets 46-43, moving each into second place in district.
A week earlier the Lady Rattlers beat the Lady Lions, 58-36, and the Rattlers won in overtime, 81-78, by way of a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by shooting guard John Paul Garcia at the Snake Pit.
“It’s always an exciting and emotional game when these two teams meet, be it at the Snake Pit or Lions Den,” said Garry Hittson, Lady Rattlers head coach.
Hittson said his team is expecting a battle and the players know they are going to have to play their hardest against the Lady Lions. He said the Rattlers need to continue to block out, limit second-chance shots and play strong defense.
Span said the key will be ball control. He said the Rattlers will have to do a better job on defense to prevent the Lions from transitioning so easily on offense.
“We have to keep them from moving the ball so quickly down the court,” Span said. “It’s important our defense is strong and we do not allow them to jump out to an early lead.”
Span said the Lions are a good team that is well-coached.
“Its going to be wild, that’s for sure,” Span said. “Santa Rosa supports their teams as does Tucumcari. We are in for an amazing showdown.”
Game time: 3:30 p.m., Saturday at Santa Rosa.
The Logan Lady Longhorns,, 17-7, 3-1 will play at 5 p.m., Thursday against Dora.
The Logan Longhorns, 10-13, 0-4 will be looking for their first district win when they play at 7 p.m., n Thursday against Dora.
The San Jon Coyotes, 11-11, 5-2 and Lad Coyotes, 4-17, 2-7 were playing against Mosquero on Tuesday at San Jon. The results of the game were not available.