Photo by Gerald Castillo
Lady Rattlers test themselves in loss to Cornerstone Christian
San Marcos was staggered.
The Lady Rattlers weren’t completely healthy. A few players were dealing with bumps and bruises or feeling under the weather. Still, the team knew how important its matchup with San Antonio Cornerstone Christian was Friday night.
Schertz Clemens (19-3), the current 6A-26 district leader, fell to the Lady Warriors in overtime on Nov. 17, 56-52. Cornerstone Christian provided the perfect opponent for San Marcos it heads into league play next week.
While the Lady Rattlers put up just as much of a fight as the Lady Buffaloes, they weren’t able to overcome their maladies, falling to the Lady Warriors, 37-32, inside the Snake Pit.
“The thing about this game is I don’t feel like we weren’t at our complete best. I feel like we were down tonight,” head coach Veronda Kendall said. “I guess it’s good for us to experience this tonight so that we’re better prepared for what’s going to be a very tough district. And I hope that we’ll learn from it.”
Both teams made each other grind for good looks on offense. Possessions were filled with tipped swing passes, aborted drives and, mostly, missed shots. The teams were knotted up at 7-7 for over two minutes in the first quarter until junior post Grace Latham sank an and-1 layup and free throw to break the tie with 48 seconds left. Cornerstone Christian made a jumpshot on the next possession and San Marcos went into the second quarter with a 10-9 lead.
The Lady Rattlers started drawing contact on their runs to the rim and built on their lead at the free throw line. Junior guard Beth Gutierrez, sophomore forward Faith Phillips and freshman guard Angelina Sotelo each hit a pair of foul shots, and a floater from Phillips extended the hosts’ lead to 21-15 at halftime.
But the opportunities stopped coming in the third quarter.
“We weren’t clicking on all cylinders,” Kendall said.
The Lady Warriors came out of the break running a high-pressure man defense. San Marcos spent the first 25 seconds of the half feeling it out, unable to find any cracks. Kendall called a timeout to try to make some adjustments. It wasn’t enough.
Phillips finally dripped in another floater at the 5:26 mark, but the Lady Rattlers wouldn’t score again for the rest of the quarter. The visitors closed out on a 10-0 run and took back the lead, 25-23.
“I would have to say it was the man-to-man pressure that bothered some of us,” Kendall said. “Some of us go off on their own. We go off on our own and it hurts us.”
Junior wing Miranda Lamb broke the cold spell with a pair of free throws in the first minute of the fourth quarter to tie things back up. The two teams traded baskets and San Marcos found itself back on top twice. But the Lady Rattlers couldn’t stay there.
The team sent Cornerstone Christian into the bonus with 37 seconds left and the visitors made both of their one-and-one shots to go up by three. The hosts kept playing the foul game, but couldn’t find another basket, losing 37-32.
“It’s disappointing. But we have to fight through adversity,” Kendall said. “You have to fight, you have to battle through adversity and we had some missed opportunities … Our focus, our focus, it’s got to be better. Our intensity has to be better. And our offensive execution has to be better.”
Phillips led the team with 10 points, followed by Latham with six and Gutierrez and Lamb with four apiece.
San Marcos (15-4) kicks off district play on Tuesday when the team heads to Spring Branch to take on Smithson Valley at 7 p.m. Will the Lady Rattlers be ready?
“I believe so,” Kendall said. “I thought we were ready tonight. It’s just like I said, we’ve had some adversity and it staggered us. It staggered us a little bit.”