The San Marcos Rattler basketball team took down the Westlake Chaparrals 54-48 to win the Area Championship. Pictured are Malik Presley and Kaden Gumbs as they double team Westlake's Isaiah Coote late in the game.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Cash Good played a key role for the Rattlers on Friday night both offensively and defensively against Westlake.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers are Area champs for first time in 20 years
AUSTIN - For the first time since 2002, the San Marcos Rattlers boy’s basketball is advancing to the regional quarterfinals. The Rattlers will now face San Antonio powerhouse Reagan Rattlers on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The Rattlers (36-3) knocked off perennial state power Austin Westlake Chaparrals on Friday night 54-48 at James Bowie High School in Austin, led by their trio of senior guards Malik Presley, Kaden Gumbs, and Jayven Cofer. Presley had a game-high 18-points, Cofer added 16, and Gumbs chipped in with 12 points.
“It means everything, coach (Miller) preaches that one game at a time,” Cofer said. “We won, we keep going. We have to keep grinding for the game next week.”
The Chaparrals got off to a quick 10-0 start forcing Rattler head coach Dan Miller to call an early timeout just two minutes into the game. After the timeout, San Marcos was able to fight their way back in the first quarter, as they had trailed 23-19, but they had Cofer’s hot shooting from long range, hitting 3 threes.
“Westlake came out and played fabulous to start,” Miller said. “We missed some defensive assignments, and they hit big shots. A lot of credit to Jayven in the first quarter when we needed some- thing to get going, and he picked up, hitting three big threes.”
In the first quarter, Miller and his coaches decided to go small ball to help spread the Westlake defense out on the perimeter by putting sophomore Cash Good in for the remainder of the game. He came up with some timely steals and good offense off the bench.
“I knew what I was out there for to play defense and make shots,” Good said. “They were leaving me wide open, so I just had to set my feet and hit an in-rhythm shot.”
With the Rattler manto- man defense settling in the second quarter, San Marcos controlled the pace of play holding Westlake to just 10-points in the second period.
“At the end of the day, I think that is where we hang our hat with that pressure defense,” Miller said. “We run, and we do some things on offense that people talk about with Malik (Presley) and Kaden (Gumbs). At the end of the day, you win with defense and rebounding.”
Before halftime, Gumbs chased down a loose ball rebound and threw a baseball pass down court to Good who took it in for a lay-up as time expired cutting into the Westlake lead 33-32 at halftime.
“After that, we settled in and became that great defensive team,” Miller added.'
The Rattlers came out of the halftime break with effort on both ends of the floor, gaining their first lead of the game at 36-34. The teams battled through the rest of the quarter as the Chaparrals took a 4240 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
In the final quarter, it was the Rattlers’ will to win led by the senior leadership of Gumbs, Presley and Cofer that allowed San Marcos to come away with a program defying win.
Halfway through the final quarter, the Rattlers had the ball as Gumbs looked to inbound the ball to Presley as Gumbs stepped in and took the pass right back from his senior running mate and finished with a reverse layup to extend the San Marcos lead to 48-44.
“It was a play called ‘Bobcat’ so San Marcos people will love that,” Miller said. “We went to it, and Kaden knew it was there as he and Malik had a great connection on the back cut. We made winning plays tonight.'
Coming down the stretch in the final two minutes, the Rattlers were able to make their free throws to stretch the lead and sealed the win with two Presley free throws. San Marcos hit 10-free throws on the night to Westlake’s three from the charity stripe.
After the slow first quarter start, Miller and the seniors knew they could win and battle back as they were on a mission to knock off state powerhouse Westlake, who had been to the state title game three of the last four years.
“They (Westlake) have such a tradition, so for us to be the ones to knock them out tonight, we knew it was going to be a mission,” Miller said. “I thought our guys were up for it and it was going to take all 32 minutes. The season coming to an end right now is not an option, we have to do whatever it takes to survive and advance.”