The Tucumcari Rattlers earned a 67-62 overtime win against the Clayton Yellowjackets Friday night at the Snake Pit.
Rattlers freshman Travis Garcia scored 14 points during Friday night's district 4 2A match-up. Six of Garcia’s points were the last to be scored by either team in the four-minute overtime.
The win began with Garcia making a jump shot giving the Rattlers a 63-62 lead. With 30 seconds left in the game Garcia went to the line and made 2-2 advancing the score to 65-62.
The Rattlers were now in a position to clinch the win or force a second overtime if the Yellowjackets managed a comeback.
With time running out the Yellowjackets looked to get the ball to senior Aric Trujillo, who led the Yellowjackets with 27 points, four of them 3-pointers.
As the Yellowjackets brought the ball in bounds the Rattlers defense moved on Trujillo, keeping him covered and taking away the outside shot.
Then disaster struck the Yellowjackets. They missed a pass which led to a turnover and resulted in a desperation foul on Garcia.
Like seconds before, Garcia stood at the line alone on a court of 10. With the chance to seal the deal, he made the first of the 1-1 bonus shots. His second shot increased the Rattlers lead to five which they held to the end.
“Travis made some big free throws for us there at the end," Rattlers head coach John Span said. "We were looking to beat them by 9 points to host Clayton here on Tuesday. Once it became apparent that we could not do that, we focused on just winning."
Late in the fourth period, the game was 57 all. But the Rattlers lost their leading scorer, senior Curtis Simpson (4,4-6) - 19 points, when he drew his fifth and final personal foul with three minutes left.
Throughout the match-up, each team made the tough shots. Yet, they each missed some easy shots down the stretch.
Defensively, each team played well, and Rattlers junior Alex Hutchins had his best night defending the inside.
Hutchins denied the Yellowjackets attempts to penetrate and often met their passes with the tip of his hand.
“It was all about being in the right place at the right time," Hutchins said. "I could not have done it without my teammates. They got into position forcing the Yellowjackets to make bad passes or try for the lane that was not there."
The Rattlers girls were routed 63-24 by the Lady Yellowjackets in their final home game of the season.
The Lady Rattlers team appeared to suffer from a lack of fundamentals, and only came to life late in the game.
In the beginning of the game the score was 17-11. It appeared that the Rattlers had an answer for the Yellowjackets press defense, which they had to drop to hold the lead.
Then a series of errors slowly led to the Lady Rattlers downfall. Missed shots and rebounds, and turnovers gave the Lady Yellowjackets all they needed to run away with the game.
"It seemed as if they scored everytime we turned the ball over," said Lady Rattlers head coach Garry Hittson. "They (Lady Rattlers)started the game with confidence, they even forced Clayton to call off their press. Then I'm not sure what happened."
The Rattlers play their final regular season game at 4 p.m. today against the Texico Wolverines at Texico.