By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Lady Rattlers 14-7, 3-1, go into today’s district game at Raton riding a three-game win streak.
Their latest, a 62-47 win over Clayton on Thursday, has the Lady Rattlers excited about their next challenge.
“We need to come out and jump on them right away,” said Lady Rattler point guard, Alyssa Martinez, who led her team with 14 points. She said the team needs to come out with the same intensity it has shown for the past three games.
That intensity included a strong defensive presence under the basket and boxing out for the rebounds.
“The girls did a fantastic job of rebounding and keeping Clayton from getting second shot opportunities,” said Gary Hittson, Lady Rattlers head coach.
Hittson said the girls are still having some issues with loose-ball turnovers, which he said comes from not slowing down and letting the play develop.
“We have to take better care of the ball,” said Melissa Gardea, Lady Rattler center, who scored 11 points against Clayton and along with her teammates contested the Lady Yellowjackets for rebounds.
“We are not going to roll over for anybody,” Gardea said. “We have to continue to play as a team and believe in each other.
Hittson said the Lady Rattlers did an outstanding job at the free throw line. He said they made 15 of 20 shots from the foul line, the best they have done all season.
The Lady Rattlers play at 3:30 p.m., today at Raton.
The Rattlers, 15-5, are not underestimating anyone and know they are going to have to play hard every time they step out onto the court, said John Span, Rattlers head coach.
A 56-50 win over Clayton on Thursday moved the Rattlers to 4-0 in district play.
Span said the team is very much aware that they will not be carrying over any points from their 55-17 win over the Tigers into today’s game.
“Those scores from before mean absolutely nothing,” Span said. “They are in the past and we have to be ready to deal with the here and now.”
The Rattlers had some issues with turnovers against Clayton, which led to offensive drives ending without points on their end of the court.
“We need to relax and take better care of the ball,” said the Rattlers’ shooting guard Tyler Ferguson.
Ferguson, who scored 9 points Thursday night, said the team needs to do a better job of defending on the inside and not letting the other team drive to the basket.
Yellowjacket Kobe Leal gave the Rattlers trouble underneath the goal, scoring 12 points and drawing fouls from the Rattlers defending him.
“We just need to play our game and be smarter on defense,” said Zedric Henderson Greene, Rattler forward.
Greene, drew two early fouls defending Leal but also scored 11 points for the Rattlers attacking the basket against Clayton.
The Rattlers were led on offense by John Paul Garcia, shooting guard, who scored 18 points.
“We are expecting a war when we step onto the court Saturday with Raton,” Span said.
Game Time: 7 p.m., today at Raton.