By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Rattlers and Lady Rattlers high school basketball teams lost to Logan on Friday for their homecoming in two fast-paced and close games that each of the coaches feel will strength their teams as they prepare for district play this week.
Games like this help to prepare the Lady Rattlers for their district game on Thursday at Clayton, said Lady Rattlers head coach Gary Hittson, who said playing a team such as Logan will help his athletes as they prepare to begin a new season on Thursday.
“If the girls continue to play up to their standards and what they are capable of then they can compete against any team in the state,” said Rhyan Daugherty, Lady Longhorns, head coach.
Daugherty, a first-year coach with the Lady Longhorns, said the team is still adjusting to his coaching style. He said the team is not where he would like them to be but knows they will get there with the level of dedication he has seen from the players.
The finish to the Lady Rattlers’ 44-41 loss to the Lady Longhorns was as tumultuous as its start.
The Lady Longhorns, 13-6, jumped out to a 12-3 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first period.
McKenna Stone scored six of those opening points, Kippi Webb, Kaylee Foote and Brooke Rachor each added two points before the Lady Rattlers took a time out.
The Lady Rattlers, 11-6, scored their only points from the free throw line, with two points coming from Kaycee Lease and one from Kalani French.
However, as play resumed, Maribel Lopez sank a three-point shot that sparked a rally by the Lady Rattlers, who went on to outscore the Lady Longhorns 10-4 in the final minutes of the first period.
The Lady Rattlers outscored the Lady Longhorns in the second period 6-3, with Lopez scoring five of her team’s points.
Logan went into halftime with a 19-18 lead.
The Lady Longhorns’ offense come out firing, taking a nine-point lead. However, much like she did in the first half of the game, Lopez sparked Tucumcari’s offense with another three-pointer, her third of the night.
The teams began a back-and-forth scoring match that continued through the final period.
However, loose ball turnovers stopped offensive drives for both the Lady Rattlers and Longhorns in the second half.
“We have to slow down and take care of the ball,” Stone said.
The Lady Rattlers’ bid for a comeback win slipped away in the final two minutes after three-pointers by Brooke Rachor and Ashlon Snipes put the Lady Longhorns ahead. The Lady Rattlers brought the game within three points but had to foul the Lady Longhorns because there was so little time left on the clock.
Two final free throws from Webb would seal the win for the Lady Longhorns.
The Lady Longhorns beat Clayton 49-37 Saturday at Logan.
Their next game will be at 4 p.m., at Springer.
The Lady Rattlers next game is at 5:30 p.m., Thursday at Clayton.
The Tucumcari Rattlers played a great game but in the end Logan did a better job of attacking the basket and made their shots from the outside, according to head Rattlers coach John Span.
The Rattlers, 11-5, lost 63-55 Friday night to the Longhorns in a game with no shortage of excitement.
“This is one of those games I wish I could have watched from the stands,” said Randy Robertson, Longhorns head coach. “This was a game were both teams came out swinging wanting to be the last man standing.”
In the second period alone there were five lead changes that occurred in just over 90 seconds.
Mike Estrada lead the Longhorns offense in the first half, nine of his 18 points.
Some good long-range shooting kept the Rattlers in the game. John Paul Garcia sank three shots from beyond the three-point line; Ronald Carmichael and Daniel Lopez scored one three-pointer each as the Rattlers trailed Logan 19-18 at halftime.
However in the third period, the Rattlers lost their shooting touch, while the Longhorns’ shots remained consistent. Logan outscored Tucumcari 22-11.
The Longhorns had three players make three-pointers in the second half: Estrada and Brinton Roach had two apiece and Jared Lubera had one.
Roach and his brother, Coltin Roach led the Longhorns in the second half in scoring; Brinton scored 14 points, while Coltin had 10.
Garcia, Carmichael and Green accounted for six three-point shots among them in the second half.
With time running out, the Rattlers were forced to foul to stop the clock. This sent the Longhorns to the foul line, who in the final period made 11 of 17 free throws.
“We left some open shots out there and took to many outside shots instead of driving to the basket for two points,” Span said. “The Longhorns did a great job of attacking the basket and were on point with their outside shots.”
Span said playing a talented ball club like Logan will help the Rattlers as they prepare for Clayton on Thursday.
The Longhorns lost 43-42 to Clayton on Saturday at Logan. Their next game will be at 7 p.m., against Fort Sumner in Logan.
The Rattlers play at 7 p.m., Thursday at Clayton.
The San Jon Coyotes, 7-10, 2-1, will play next at 5 p.m., Thursday at Des Moines.
The San Jon Lady Coyotes, 3-12, 1-2, will play next at 4 p.m., Thursday at Des Moines.