Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Rattlers fall in overtime


December 25, 2019

Despite missing its top scorer, the Tucumcari boys basketball team nearly pulled off an upset in a 69-66 overtime loss to Class 1A-ranked Elida on Saturday in the Citizens Bank Tournament in Texico.

The Rattlers’ top scorer, sophomore guard-forward Jesus Ramos, didn’t play Saturday because of illness, forcing coach John Span to rejigger his lineup. The Rattlers (2-7) nearly won anyway.

“It was like a football game if your quarterback said he was sick and couldn’t play, you have to do something else,” Span said. “I’m proud of the kids; they really stepped up and put themselves in a position to win, but it got away from us.”

Andrew Henderson-Clark led the Rattlers with 21 points, while Alexander Lujan and Curtis Gonzales each added 13.

Span acknowledged the back-and-forth game probably was fun to watch.

“It was a humdinger,” he said. “Even as a coach, it was a good one. I just wish we came out on the upside of it.”

Span said Elida had an edge in free throws, converting 19 of 29. Tucumcari made 11 of 15.

“We also had some turnovers because had some younger kids in there, and they’re not used so some of the things I had to have them do,” he added.

Elida (9-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 1A by MaxPreps.com, scored the first four points of overtime and hung on to win.

With a strong performance against a ranked team and scoring more than 100 points the previous night, Span was asked whether his Rattlers had turned a corner.

“I think we still got the blinker on, and we’re almost there,” he said. “I thought we had last night, when we shot the ball really well. But we didn’t shoot the ball tonight as well as we did Friday, and I had many of the same people. But my hat’s off to them; they made the plays to give themselves the opportunity to win.”

Tucumcari 106, Bovina 57

The Rattlers scored more than 100 points in a game for the first time in three years with a 106-57 victory Friday over Bovina, Texas, at the Citizens Bank Tournament.

Four Tucumcari players scored into double digits during the game and converted 12 3-point shots. The Rattlers scored consistently from the start, including 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Lujan led the Rattlers’ rampage with 25 points, while Ramos added 23. Robbie Hartmann scored 17 points, and TJ Lampkin added 10.

“We got the open shots, and we hit them,” Span said. “We put in our young people, and even they were hitting shots.”

Span said it was the first time Tucumcari had hit the century mark since scoring 111 during a victory over Loving in 2016.

Bovina fell to 2-3.

Eunice 64, Tucumcari 59

Tucumcari dropped a close contest, 64-59, in the opening game Thursday of the Citizens Bank Tournament.

Ramos led the Rattlers with 17 points, and Lampkin added 16.

Tucumcari made eight 3-point shots during the game, including six in the second half.

Span said his team trailed by as many as 14 but rallied to briefly lead by four. The Cardinals made it tougher on themselves by converting only 15 of 31 free throws. Tucumcari went 11-for-15 from the foul line.

“We also missed three layups, and that hurt us,” Span said. “We also need to stop fouling. I didn’t think we were doing it more than (the Cardinals) were, but they had more than double the (free throw) shots that we did. We need to clean up some stuff defensively.”

Eunice improved to 7-2.

Robertson 63, Tucumcari 51

Ramos scored 18 points during a losing effort as (Las Vegas) Robertson seized the lead early and inched away during a 63-51 decision Dec. 17.

Span said his team “played better” during yet another road game. The Rattlers will spend their first five weeks of the season on the road until their first home game Jan. 4 against Logan. Another Rattlers home game was scheduled for Dec. 10, but opponent Mora canceled.

The Cardinals (4-2) took a 13-10 lead in the first quarter and increased the margin to 30-23 by intermission. Robertson outscored the Rattlers 33-28 the rest of the way.

Henderson-Clark added 10 points for Tucumcari.

Matthew Gonzales led Robertson with 21 points, and Antonio Padilla added 18.


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