Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers fall in close game against McCallum
The Rattlers keep things close.
Heading into Tuesday night, San Marcos’ last three games had been decided by a combined seven points, going 2-1 during the stretch. The streak of close games continued, as the Rattlers fell to Austin McCallum, inside the Snake Pit, 57-52.
“We’ve got to find a way to score a little bit easier,” head coach Thomas Acker said. “We missed a lot of good looks tonight. I don’t know what our shooting percentage was, but I feel like we missed a lot of good looks.”
The team started off a bit slow in the first quarter. Acker kept his starting five of junior guards Joey Hernandez, Josh Deleon, C.J. Valencia, senior guard Pablo Rios and senior forward Mason Green in for the full eight minutes. The lineup fell behind, 15-10, but it allowed the second unit to use its fresh legs to its advantage — especially on defense.
The Rattlers held the Knights to just seven points in the second quarter. The team generated a few extra turnovers and converted them into easy transition baskets. Green led the team with five points during the quarter and San Marcos took back the lead, up 25-22 at halftime.
“We were just guarding,” Acker said. “Our program here has been one in the last few years that has really kind of taken to the defensive end. Early in the season, we were giving up 70 a game. And here, recently, I think we’ve done a better job … I think we’re just becoming a little tougher on the defensive end, just in general being a little tougher.”
Rios found Deleon in the left corner for a 3-pointer to start the third quarter, but the Rattlers couldn’t hold onto the lead. McCallum closed out the quarter on a 12-4 run, leading 43-38 heading into the fourth.
San Marcos kept fighting. Hernandez found Valencia on a fast break in the left corner for a triple that cut the Knights’ lead to 51-48 with 1:32 left in the game. McCallum started stalling on the next possession as the Rattlers began to trap. The visitors swung the ball around until they found an open man under the basket, who cashed in for a game-sealing layup with 32 seconds left.
The hosts couldn’t complete the rally, losing 57-52.
“In the high school game, without a shot clock, what happens is the team that has the ball can space you and take advantage of things like that,” Acker said. “And so, you have a choice to just play straight up and play the foul game or you can go trap and do all that and see if they ping the ball around and then you’re chasing your tail. So, obviously the advantage is to be up near the end so that you can do that to them.”
San Marcos (2-9) will head to the Austin LBJ Tournament this weekend. Acker is looking forward to watching his team get over the hump.
“It’s just more valuable gametime,” Acker said. “You know, this team has four guys that played varsity last year. And now, I guess we’re at game 11, so a lot of guys are getting more experience.”