Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Senior Writer 

Rattlers face Clayton this week


February 8, 2017

Thomas Garcia

Tucumcari Rattlers Joshua Lopez shoots a three-pointer during Saturday's district loss at Santa Rosa.

The Tucumcari Rattlers will need to take care of the ball and attack the basket Thursday against the Yellowjackets at Clayton.

The Rattlers (8-12, 1-2) need a district win to stay in contention in the District 5 3-A field.

Tucumcari will travel to Clayton on Thursday to take on the Yellowjackets (10-10 0-3).

Last weekend the Rattlers lost 64-60 to the Lions (14-6 2-1) at Santa Rosa.

"We have to be more aggressive when going in for a basket," said John Span, Rattlers head coach.

Span said the Rattlers need to be more physical when shooting the inside shot. He said while the Rattlers free throw percentage against Santa Rosa was high (10 of 13) the team did not get to the foul line enough.

"We have to earn those foul shots and cash in on them," Span said.

Span said another area the Rattlers need to work on is making defensive stops. He said the Lions were able to get inside and draw the foul on offense. He said the Lions shot 24 free throws converting 15 of them for points.

"If we had come up with a few defensive stops, it would have been a different game," Span said.

Span said turnovers is an issue that the team has been working to correct. He said several possessions were lost due to bad passes.

"Against Clayton, we need a win," Span said. "We just have to come together as a team and play four sound periods of basketball."

Game time: 7 p.m., Thursday at Clayton.

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The Lady Rattlers need to start out with intensity, maintain that intensity but also be mindful when to slow down as the situation calls for it, said Gary Hittson, Lady Rattlers head coach.

"The team will need to start out faster against Clayton," said Alyssa Martinez, Lady Rattler point guard.

Hittson said he wants the team to come out strong against the Lady Yellowjackets (6-12, 0-3) on Thursday but be mindful of the game. He said he has stressed to the Lady Rattlers to play at a high pace, but at times, the situation calls for the team to dial back.

"One issue is that the girls have been starting off slow," Hittson said. "Then once the girls' tempo begins to build, it's hard to contain them."

Martinez said the slow start results in a lull of scoring and against stronger teams that can result in falling behind.

During last weekend's 72-49 routing of the Santa Rosa Lady Lions, the Lady Rattlers (16-5, 3-0) had such a start.

Hittson said the Lady Rattlers slow start in the first period at Santa Rosa resulted in a nine-point lead for the Lady Lions (10-11, 1-2). He said even with eight turnovers in the first period, the Lady Rattlers struggled to get into rhythm.

The Lady Rattlers got into synch in the second period and outscored the Lady Lions by double digits in all but the third.

"We had a strong first period, but our girls have struggled to put together a full game all season," said Kenny Flores, Lady Lions head coach.

Flores said the Lady Lions have faced some stout opponents this season. He said it may be the strongest schedule the team has played in a few years. The team is still working on putting together one full game of consistent game play.

Hittson said as the Lady Rattlers lead continued to grow, the team began rushing their play. He said this hastened play resulted in turnovers.

"The girls need to be aware," Hittson said. "When we have a lead run through the offense and use up the clock."

Game time: 4 p.m. Thursday at Clayton

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The Logan Longhorns will be looking for their second district win Thursday against Mountainair.

The Longhorns (7-12, 1-2) will play Mountainair (7-13, 0-3) at Mountainair.

Logan lost their last two district 6 2A games this past weekend.

Despite a Hail Mary three-point basket to send them into overtime, it was a short bench that led to the Longhorns 70-64 district loss to Fort Sumner/House Foxes on Feb. 4 at Logan.

"Our younger guys played outstanding," said Randy Robertson, Longhorns head coach. "We called upon them, and they stepped up when needed. I am proud of how we played."

The Longhorns were down to four players in the final moments of Thursday's District 6 2A game against the Foxes (17-3, 2-0).

"As we went into overtime, I told my team to be calm and play smart," said Brad Holland, Foxes head coach. "I feel our bench matched up well with Logan and held their own."

The Longhorns were in a short bench situation entering into overtime with Coltin Roach and Gabe Randolph fouling out in the fourth period.

It looked to be the final period as Foxes forward Brant West made a three-point basket with three seconds left in the game. West led the Foxes with 25 points.

With little more than a second, Longhorn guard Kyle Knight threw up one last shot from more than 70 feet away. The basketball wiped through the net as the buzzer sounded.

Knight said he looked at the clock and knew that he had no time to advance the ball any further.

"I just threw it up there and prayed," Knight said.

Knight's prayer, three of his eight points against the Foxes sent the Longhorns into overtime, but foul trouble would ultimately end their chances of a miracle win.

Knight, Jerome Earle, 13 points, and Chase Earle fouled out in the extra period and eighth grader Dante Sanchez was lost to injury.

Forced to foul to try and stop the clock, the Longhorns hoped that the Foxes would miss their free throws giving them a chance to close the gap.

The Foxes had trailed the Longhorns throughout most of the game. The Foxes were able to convert on their free throws making 14 of 26 in the final two periods.

"It is one of those fundamentals that could make or break you in these close games," Holland said.

Robertson said the momentum swinging the other way with time running out, the Longhorns had little option but to foul.

"The Foxes did a good job of making their free throws," Robertson said. "It was an area we were not so fortunate in, and it hurt us."

Logan was 15 of 34 from the foul line.

The Longhorns lost 44-36 Saturday to Dora (16-5, 2-0) at Logan.

Game time: 7 p.m. Thursday Mountainair at Mountainair.

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The Lady Longhorns will need to continue to work on boxing out on offense for rebounds and making their free throws, said Ryan Daugherty, head coach.

The Lady Longhorns (18-3, 3-0) will play Mountainair (1-9, 0-3) as they work towards claiming first place in the District 6 2A standings.

On Feb. 9, the Lady Longhorn beat the Fort Sumner/House Vixens 57-47 at Logan.

Against the Vixens (13-7, 1-1) the Lady Longhorns 11 of 27 from the foul line.

"We have to do a better job of making free throws," said Kylee Foote, Lady Longhorns power forward.

Thomas Garcia

Logan Longhorns Hayden Inge shoots a contested layup during Thursday's 70-64 district overtime loss against Fort Sumner/House Foxes at Logan.

Foote led the Lady Longhorns offense with 22 points with Post Harlie Roach was second with 13 points.

Foote said making more of their free throws would have changed the entire play of the game. She said in the first half, the Vixens controlled the rebounds, limiting Logan's second shot chances.

"We are used to being the team with the larger size," Daugherty said. "The Vixens matched up well underneath with us, and we had to make an adjustment at half-time."

Foote said the Lady Coyotes will be a completely different team with new challenges for them to overcome.

"We have to be more aggressive on rebounds," Foote said. "Our bread and butter is our offense. We need to be stronger on defense to close out the game."

The Lady Longhorns beat Dora 41-33 Saturday at Logan.

Game time: 4 p.m., Thursday Mountainair at Logan.


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