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Rattlers rally, fall short in home loss to Lake Travis, 63-59

San Marcos Boys' Basketball
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Snake Pit was packed with anticipation on Tuesday as Lake Travis and San Marcos — who had one District 26-6A loss between the two — were set to play for a chance inch closer to the district title. The Rattlers entered the game riding a four-game winning streak while the Cavaliers were coming off a close loss to Austin Westlake on Friday. 

The visitors got hot in the first quarters, draining 4-4 shots from outside the arc and opening with a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. It had San Marcos playing catchup for most of the rest of the game. The hosts nearly rallied from trailing by double digits, but ran out of time to pull off the comeback, resulting in a 63-49 loss.

“I’m extremely proud of the guys for fighting back,” head coach Dan Miller said. “And (Lake Travis is) a tough team to come back against because they’re very patient. It’s a team you’d like to get a lead (against) early in the game, but it went the other way. But when we were down in the fourth quarter, our guys never gave up.”

Junior forward Isaiah DeLeon helped the Rattlers (22-6, 5-1 district) get back into the game by hitting a pair of 3s early in the second quarter, giving them a 22-21 lead. DeLeon finished the first half with eight points, trailing only fellow junior forward Malik Presley, who had nine. Lake Travis (19-6, 4-1) came back to make it a two-score game again, going up 32-27 at halftime.

Presley scored on back-to-back layups at the start of the third to trim the deficit down to one. But the Cavaliers pulled away late in the period and a contested jumper at the buzzer gave them their largest lead of the game at 47-38.

“I think a lot of the breakdowns are just communication, you know, off screens and they’re broken plays a little bit too,’’ Miller said. “If we don’t turn the ball over a few times, I think we’re in our shell, defensive and man-to-man — it’s a little better scenario for us on defense. They got us on a couple times and just on some communications we gave up two backdoors to today. We watched some film we repped against it and but you know the guys that gave them up are the young guys and I know they’ll bounce back alert and experienced and there’s a lot to learn from tonight.

“We’re a good team, we’re a young team. A lot of people lose track of that. We have one senior in the rotation. Another one on the team, but it’s a lot of juniors out there on the court, it’s a sophomore on the court and a freshman on the court at times that you haven’t maybe been in these big district games against these top teams, and that you really have to be attention to detail and sometimes a veteran team does.”

Lake Travis extended the lead to 12 at the start of the fourth and allowed the team to slow the pace of the game down and burn more clock. But San Marcos wasn’t finished.

The purple and white began utilizing a full-court press, hoping to speed the game back up and earn some extra possessions off turnovers. It worked, for the most part. The Rattlers started chipping away at the lead, with junior guard Kaden Gumbs often flying coast-to-coast to preserve as much time as possible. 

Down three points with just a few seconds remaining, junior guard Exavion Harris nearly came up with a steal on a trap but was instead called for a foul, sending the visitors to the free throw line. Lake Travis went 1-2 on bonus shots, sealing the 73-69 win.

“At the end of the day, you don’t want it to come down to the officials,” Miller said. “They have extremely hard jobs. They have screaming fans on both sides. It’s a hard job. I know they’re doing their best. We have to keep our composure and move on to the next play. And for the most part, our guys did that tonight even though there were some tough calls and that’s going to happen.”

San Marcos heads back on the road this Friday at 8 p.m. to play a familiar district opponent — Austin Westlake (25-1, 6-0). The Rattlers and Chaparrals played on Dec. 30 in the William Roberts Memorial Tournament championship where Westlake won, 79-47.

Miller said he hopes his team learned from the loss, but that he wants his players to mostly focus on themselves.

“They’re a tough team,” Miller said. “But we don’t want to make it about them and we just really want to make it about us cleaning some things up on defense and offense and going up there and just playing them better than we played them last time. We have nothing to lose, you know, right? They’ve won 67 (district games) in a row, they’ve already beat us ... So we just gotta practice good and just go up there and see what happens. I’m proud of our guys.”

San Marcos Record

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