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Lady Rattlers grind out home win over Killeen Shoemaker

San Marcos Girls Basketball
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The first quarter was a defensive clinic. 

The opening six minutes of San Marcos’ 53-39 home win over Killeen Shoemaker inside the Snake Pit on Tuesday were suffused with hustle plays. Tipped passes. Loose balls. Charges.

The grand total of it all was zero points. Both offenses were cold early on, with neither team able to find the bottom of the net. Lady Rattler junior wing Miranda Lamb finally ended the cold streak with a free throw at the 2:09 mark in the first quarter.

Sophomore forward Faith Phillips canned a 3-pointer off an assist from freshman guard Vivian Hernandez. The Lady Wolves earned their first basket with less than 30 seconds left in the quarter on a putback layup. San Marcos led 9-2 heading into the second quarter and both offenses continued to heat up from there.

“It was a grind,” head coach Veronda Kendall said. “That’s two giants battling and you’ve just got to keep throwing punches. And we hung in there. And finally, we were able to see what our advantage was and make it what their weaknesses were … I think we just got in there and we battled and we stood strong.”

The Lady Rattlers extended their lead to 16-6 early in the next quarter, but Shoemaker countered with a 10-0 run, with eight points coming from sophomore forward Novotny Smith. Free throws from Phillips and freshman guard Angelina Sotelo put San Marcos back in front during the final minute of the half and the team clung to the lead the rest of the way.

Senior wing Abigail Pena hit a trey from the right corner to start the third quarter and the Lady Rattlers closed out on an 13-6 run.

“Our chemistry is very good,” junior post Grace Latham said. “We do lots of team bonding so we know how to keep it together on the court. And we like to talk to each other, so we talk on the court. And we like to keep a flow of things.”

Shoemaker came out hot in the final quarter, dropping 14 points. The Lady Rattlers matched the visitors by drawing contact and patronizing the free throw line. San Marcos went 10-16 on foul shots during the fourth and secured the win, 53-39.

“I feel like the wins and the losses both are teaching us how we play as a team,” Lamb said. “Because the last couple years, it’s been a little rough. And this year, we’re finally being able to talk and come together and start winning these games.”

Hernandez led the team with 20 points, followed by Phillips with 10. Lamb and Stewart added four points each.

San Marcos is now 8-2 on the season and will play Antonian Prep inside the Snake Pit on Friday at 12:30 p.m. Despite her team’s solid start, Kendall thinks there’s a lot of room for improvement.

“We’re learning and we’re still growing and we’re getting better each game, I feel like,” Kendall said. “But I still don’t feel like we realize our potential quite yet. But I think we’ll get there.”