There wasn’t a buzzer-beating shot, no game-winning free throw or any fans swarming the San Marcos Rattlers on the court at the end of Friday night’s home game against New Braunfels.
Not because the Rattlers lost. Far from it, considering they rolled off a 13-point win against the Unicorns. More so, because it was the first time first-place San Marcos had won a District 25-5A by a decisive margin, handing the Unicorns a 63-50 loss at The Snake Pit.
The win not only allowed the Rattlers to keep their hold on first place, it guaranteed them a postseason berth with three district games remaining.
“The kids knew what this game meant,” SMHS head coach David Norris said. “I told the guys, ‘Let’s get in first, then we will worry about where we fall in the standings and try to win a district championship.’ That was an important win and they scratched and clawed to get it.”
Playing without leading scorer Aaron Gettys, New Braunfels tried to throw San Marcos off early in the game, using a box-and-one defense that forced four early turnovers, while allowing the Unicorns to jump out to a 9-0 lead. But the Rattlers settled down and adjusted, countering with a 14-2 run to take a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.
Senior Michael Hicks ignited the run with a 3-pointer, while Josh Coleman put in three fast-break layups.
“They were an 0-6 team that was trying anything they could to pull out a win and tried to rattle us early with the box and one,” Norris said. “We just had to settle into the game and once we started to execute some set plays. Once Mike hit that three, it made them come out and start trying to play us.”
SMHS led by as many as 13 in the third, before a small surge from the Unicorns cut the lead to six (44-38) going into the fourth quarter. That would be the closest New Braunfels would get, as San Marcos outscored the Unicorns 19-11 in the fourth, making 11 shots from the free-throw line to score the victory.
Speed allowed the Rattlers to control the second half. San Marcos was able to score numerous times off its transition game: be it an easy layup or shots at the charity stripe.
“I told the guys, the key to beating this team was transition and to out-run them,” Norris said. “We got out there and out-ran them and got some easy layups. We were able to do what we wanted to do on that part.”
Senior post Alex Frye used his quick inside footwork to lead the Rattlers with 15 points, while Coleman finished with eight. Rounding out the Snakes well-balanced attack were Jarrett Henderson with nine points, and eight points apiece from Brandon Coleman, Isaiah Brown and Michael Hicks.
New Braunfels’ Martin Gonzales led all scorers with 16 points.
“These guys have really banded together and they’re not worried about who scores what,” Norris said. “They’re only interested with us being ahead when the final second roll off.”
San Marcos continues its quest for a 25-5A title Tuesday with a key game at second-place Converse-Judson, a team which the Rattlers upset 34-33 in the initial meeting Jan. 18. Judson (25-7, 5-2) is coming off an 81-56 win over Smithson Valley.
“We know what we are going up against and it’s going to be a battle,” Norris said. “We have got two days of practice to prepare for them like we did before and be ready to go to war with them Tuesday.”
District 25-5A Boys
New Braunfels 13 11 14 11 — 50
San Marcos 14 17 13 19 — 63
New Braunfels (8-23, 0-7) — Martin Gonzales 16, RJ Nunez 10, Tim Parson 6, Harley Rogers 4, Roger Nunez 4, Hudson Rice 3, Christian Krueger 2, Matt Love 2, James McArthur 2.
San Marcos (17-12, 6-1) — Alex Frye 15, Josh Coleman 10, Jarrett Henderson 9, Isaiah Brown 8, Brandon Coleman 8, Michael Hicks 8, Zach Miles 4, Truett Newton 1.
Next — San Marcos at Converse-Judson, Tuesday, 7 p.m.