The Tucumcari Rattlers split homecoming wins with the visiting Estancia Bears Saturday at the Snake Pit.
The (6-10) Rattlers won big with a 53 to 36 win against the (5-8) Bears. This was just 24 hours after a last-minute 62-58 loss to the Longhorns at Logan.
Both the upper and lower classmen have shown improvements in the past few weeks, said Rattlers head coach John Span.
“Alex Hutchins (junior) gave us some valuable time out on that court,” Span said. “We will need more performances like that out of him and Jakus Martinez (sophomore).”
Rattlers senior Curtis Simpson had dual roles Saturday night, first as the teams leading scorer (17) and as the escort to Homecoming Queen Kaitlin Lopez.
Freshman Travis Garcia assisted the Rattlers in keeping the lead throughout the game with 11 points.
Loose ball turnovers and missed shots were still a problem for the Rattlers despite the win.
“They are more concerned with their shots being blocked then finding a spot and taking the shot,” Span said. “Estancia was real aggressive on the court and they kept coming at us. They could have easily took advantage of the missed shots and turnovers for points.”
With the win, the Rattlers will now concentrate on and practice in preparation for their district opener against long-time rival the Santa Rosa Lions.
“We are going to use this week to work on our shooting and get back into the weight room,” Span said.
The glamour and sparkle of homecoming was not enough to help the Lady Rattlers. They lost 52-12 to the Lady Bears.
The (14-6) Lady Bears ran a relentless press that forced bad passing from the (5-12) Lady Rattlers in an effort to clear half court. With the game far out of reach, Rattlers coach Gary Hittson put in his younger players who met with the same intense press that had hurt the starters.
“That is how you play when you are getting ready for district. You do not let up,” Hittson said. “You have to continue to play hard if you want to get out of your district.”
It was a rough first half for the Lady Rattlers. They scored just four points in the first half. Both were steals and fast break lay-ups, one by sophomore Lorri Harmon and another freshman Michelle Fazekas.
But Harmon’s game ended early. Harmon and Lady Bears’ junior Robin tallied up a set of technical fouls and both were ejected from the game.
A double technical was called when Harmon was attempting to shoot and Jones blocked out into her and then the two exchanged blows.
Coincidentally, both players that were taken out of the game were wearing the number 30, and then their two respective teammates, who shot two free throws, Kadi Powers (Lady Rattlers) and Desirae Ortiz (Lady Bears) both were wearing the number 13.
The second half was an improvement for the Lady Rattlers as junior Haley Valverde ended the Lady Bears 12-point run. Lady Rattlers junior Stephanie Garcia lead the team in scoring with four points to close out the night.
The Rattlers next game is at 6 p.m. on Saturday against the Santa Rosa Lions at the Lions Den.