San Marcos falls to Del Valle, forced to play decisive extra game for playoff berth

Photo by Gerald Castillo

San Marcos left its playoff fate to destiny after falling to Del Valle, 63-55, on Tuesday.

The Rattlers needed a Manor lossto secure a playoff berth. But for San Marcos, which always believed destiny was in its control, fate gave Manor a win and forced a play-in game for District 14-6A’s final playoff spot.

Head coach David Norris was content with his team’s improved performance against Del Valle despite Tuesday’s outcome after the Rattlers previous 70-47 loss to the Cardinals on Jan. 27.

“That’s one thing we talked about being better than last time,” Norris said. “That game after a grueling road trip, that wasn’t us. We came out ready to battle and we knew we had to have this kind of effort to win the ball game.”

San Marcos (17-15, 4-6 14-6A) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead over Del Valle (23-9, 8-2) in the opening quarter. But the Cardinals quickly erased the Rattler lead behind a strong inside presence from senior forward Deyante McClellan, who scored four points to even the score and finished the quarter with six points. Del Valle continued to pull away from San Marcos throughout the first frame and claimed an 18-9 advantage after period’s end.

The Cardinals pushed their lead out to 24-12 midway through the second quarter. But San Marcos went on a strong run to cut the deficit down to 25-21. Then back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Daniel Pearson, who exited the quarter with 11 points, put San Marcos within 30-27 at the half.

“I just came out with confidence,” Pearson said. “I knew that it was one of my last games and having the blessed opportunity to start a game, which gave me heart and I had to wear it on my sleeve. It’s my game and I love it to death and I just went and did what I could for my team.”

Both teams traded points in the third quarter and Del Valle bolstered its lead to 49-43 heading into the final frame.

San Marcos pulled the score to 54-51 but the Cardinals pulled away late in the quarter to secure the 63-55 win.

“(Del Valle) caught us with a couple of loose balls where they picked them up off the floor and either scored or got fouled, free throws where we didn’t block out right and they end up scram- bling into a play that ended up into a 3-point play,” Norris said. “I think that just kind of separated them enough to where they spread the ball and we kind of had to chase them a little bit and foul them.”

Pearson led the Rattlers with 13 points followed by seven points from both senior guard Luis Hernandez and senior center Derek Boston.

“(Pearson) lifted us,” Norris said. “He pulled us out of the hole. Every game we hope someone steps up when the team needs him and tonight it was Dan- iel. He did an excellent job of shooting the ball and then some of his hustle plays on defense (in the second) quarter getting stops. He was really big to keep us in this game.”

The Rattlers will play Manor for a playoff berth Friday at 7:30 p.m. inside Austin’s Burger Center. Norris said he’s confident in his team heading into the decisive game.

“If you put in the kind of effort to prepare for those games like we just did then we’re going to be okay,” Norris said.

San Marcos Daily Record

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