Rattler forward sophomore Tyler Loftis goes up for an easy lay-up during Monday's 70-35 loss to the Rams.
Rattler juniors Andrew Francis and A.J. Trujillo try to press the Rams after a rebound Monday at the Snake Pit.
The Tucumcari Rattlers lost 70-35 Monday night to the Portales Rams.
It was an uphill battle for the (2-7) Rattlers boys varsity team as the (5-6) Rams jumped off to an early 8-0 lead against the Rattlers at the Snake Pit.
Still, the Rattlers Andrez Apodaca, a shooting guard, kept pace with Rams high-scorer, guard Shawn Carrasco, with each shooting 14 points in the game.
"They are a very quick and athletic team," Rattlers basketball coach John Span said. "They had good spacing on the floor and transitioned well from offense to defense."
The Rams lead grew as the game progressed from 9 to as much as 35 points. The Rattlers shots were short, over and, at times, the shots would hit the rim but would not fall.
"Even with a large lead, we have learned that you can't look past coach Span's team," said Rams coach Mark Gallegos. "We came down here two years ago and they beat us. You always have to be ready to play here in Tucumcari."
Despite Rams's wide lead, the Rattlers kept working hard and played all the way through, Span said.
With district play right around the corner, both coaches are looking for extra experience and conditioning for their players.
"Our district play is about to begin and a win like this helps build the team's confidence," Gallegos said. "We will play at the Hope Christian Invitational (beginning on Thursday) where we hope to play against West Las Vegas who is in top five of the 3A class."
"This was our third game out of six to be played over nine days," Span said. "It has been tough but it will definitely help prepare the team for district competition."
Andrez Apodaca 14 points
Freddie Beltran 7 points
Shawn Carrasco 14 points
William Archibeque 10 points
The Rattlers will play again at 4 p.m. Thursday against the Elida Tigers at Elida.