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High School Boys Basketball: Rattlers rise over San Antonio Southside

NICK CASTILLO
Daily Record Sports

San Marcos (13-9, 0-0 14-6A) appeared ready to coast to a win over San Antonio Southside (2-9 0-0 29-5A) with a 60-48 lead entering the fourth quarter of Friday’s contest.

But Southside rallied to tie the game at 68-68 with two minutes remaining in the game after the Rattlers went cold and turned the ball over multiple times.

San Marcos, however, avoided the loss when senior guard Elias Vasquez split a pair of free throws and a steal on the other end led to a basket by senior Derek Boston. The Rattlers defeated the Cardinals, 72-68.

“(Southside) is not bad and I think we got a little lackadaisical,” head coach David Norris said. “We weren’t moving the ball around like we were in the beginning and it kind of stuck. Their composure was challenged. I don’t think it was lost totally, but it was challenged and we just didn’t recover as well as we needed.

“But then our district is going to be like this so it’s not a bad thing to have happen to us. Yeah, I would’ve loved to finish this game out on a good run. But we had to battle at the end and play smart.”

Friday’s game represented San Marcos’ final tune up before beginning District 14-6A play. The Rattlers came out strong. Seniors Micah Williamson, Luis Hernandez, Derek Boston and Sean Price scored San Marcos’ first 14 points to give the Rattlers a 14-5 advantage. But Southside responded with a quick 12-3 run to tie the game at 17 each. San Marcos, however, sank back-to-back 3-pointers by Hernandez and senior Grise Joao to take a 23-17 lead into the second quarter.

The Rattlers continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc in the second quarter. Pearson sank two 3-pointers, while Joao and junior Sam Deleon each hit one 3-ball. San Marcos claimed a 43-33 advantage at the half.

Both squads traded points in the third quarter but the Rattlers still held a double-digit lead at 60-48 after the period expired.

But San Marcos’ shots stopped falling in the final quarter. Price recorded eight points and pushed the Rattler lead to 68-58, but his scoring effort couldn’t thwart the Cardinal rally. Southside went on a 10-0 run to tie the game.

“I think we got a little over ourselves a little bit,” Hernandez said. “We should’ve tightened up. We let off a little bit and they started making a little run. Of course, we had to change the momentum.”

San Marcos responded when Vasquez drove to the basket and was fouled. But Vasquez only connected on one of the two shots at the charity stripe. The Rattlers forced a turnover on defense and found Boston to extend the lead to 71-68. Boston later connected on a free throw to seal San Marcos’ fifth straight win.

Despite the late-game letdown, Norris said he liked what he saw from his offense.

“The ball went from one side of the court to the other,” Norris said. “Elias, I challenged him that I wasn’t going to call many plays. He came out and called plays and sets and changed up where the ball was entering, where it was coming from. We got good paint touches and they distributed the ball well where we could get some easy shots.”

Norris said the team’s 13th win this season is great but now the Rattlers have to turn their attention to District 14-6A competition, which begins on the road against Manor on Friday at 7 p.m.

“These 3-point shots we made tonight and the game we played well in the tournament, all that is great, but the slate is wiped clean and we’ve got to prepare for our district,” Norris said. “Our goal should be district champions and we’ve got to practice like champions."

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