Rattlers stay in playoff hunt with win over Akins

Photo by Gerald Castillo

High School Boys Basketball

San Marcos always finds itself in a precarious position. 

The Rattlers never trailed in Friday’s contest against Austin Akins but they couldn’t avoid a dramatic ending. San Marcos held a 22-point advantage entering the fourth quarter but the Eagles fought their way to within single-digits late in the game. 

The Rattlers, however, were fortunate enough to walk away with a 66-57 win over Akins. 

“It’s a win that’s all I’m focusing on is that we won the game,” head coach David Norris said. “I told (the team), we win by one point, I’ll take it at this point. We went out there, we did what we needed to do. Got a good start, battled and we did some things right down the stretch. Yeah, I wish we could’ve closed it out differently.”

San Marcos (17-14, 4-5 14-6A) entered Friday’s matchup against Akins (7-24, 0-9) in a tie for District 14-6A’s final playoff spot with Manor, and in need of a win to keep pace. 

The Rattlers jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind three points each from senior center Derek Boston and senior guard Sean Price. But San Marcos’ offense stalled and only scored three points in the rest of the quarter, while the Eagles recorded eight points. 

San Marcos entered the second period with a 9-8 lead, but two 3-pointers from Price helped the Rattlers take a 16-10 lead. 

“(Price) gets us going,” Norris said. “He had that look in his eye and I was calling some plays for him. Then a couple he found on his own. So, I’ll give him that credit to step up and knock those down. It always lifts us when he starts shooting like that.”

San Marcos’ defense stiffened throughout the frame and held Akins to four points, which helped the Rattlers outscore Akins, 20-4, to take a 29-12 lead into halftime. 

The Eagles and San Marcos traded points throughout the third quarter. But the Rattlers extended their lead out to 22-points and took a 48-26 advantage into the final period. 

Akins made an early run in the fourth but the Eagles’ momentum was halted after an emphatic dunk by junior Sam DeLeon pushed San Marcos’ lead to 54-35. 

But the Eagles continued to battle and got to within single digits for the first time since the first half. An Akins 3-pointer by senior guard Henry Stewart late in the fourth cut San Marcos’ lead down to 62-55. 

“(Akins) just pinned their ears down and started going to the basket and we kind of got caught on our heels a little bit,” Norris said. “Instead of guarding screens and sets, all of sudden, they’re coming down hill at us and we just didn’t do a good job rotating over and they made some good plays.”

The Eagles, however, wouldn’t get any closer to San Marcos and the Rattlers secured their fourth district win of the season. 

Price led San Marcos with 18 points, which he says happened because he felt better about his shot as the game progressed.

“Someone coming at me just kind of made me feel better,” Price said. “I felt more confident when it fell in.”

San Marcos also received strong performances from senior center Derek Boston, who scored 11 points, and senior guard Elias Vasquez, who recorded 10 points off the bench. 

Friday’s win combined with a loss by Manor gives the Rattlers a one game advantage over the Mustangs for the district’s final playoff spot. A win over Del Valle on Tuesday ensures San Marcos a playoff slot. A loss creates uncertainty. But the Rattlers are glad they put themselves in a good position with the win over Akins.  

“We don’t want to stay home after Tuesday either,” Norris said. “We had something to play for. I’m proud of the guys for going up and winning this game.”

San Marcos Daily Record

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