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San Marcos rebounds to take win over Austin Bowie, 55-51

San Marcos Boys' Basketball
Monday, February 7, 2022

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it.

San Marcos dropped a heartbreaking overtime loss to Del Valle on Tuesday night, 68-66. But the Rattlers responded with a 55-51 over Austin Bowie (13-16, 5-6 district) just three days later. The purple and white have only lost consecutive games twice this season, meaning their answer to the failure usually follows with success. 

Head coach Dan Miller mentioned what the response in the locker room is like after the team loses.  

“Good resiliency, and just a true commitment to looking at what we did wrong last game,” Miller said. “To lose a close game, and then focus on the things we need to improve — which was rebounding — and being a little more gritty on defense and we brought that to the table tonight, got off to a great start and got us that win.”

It was evident the hosts wanted to erase the memory of Tuesday's loss and it came quickly. They got out to a 4-5 start from the field and a 10-0 lead stuck to the scoreboard before Bowie called timeout. All five starters scored in the first five minutes of the game. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs struggled to get anything going, not scoring their first bucket until the 2:01 mark, allowing San Marcos to jump out to a 16-4 first quarter lead. 

Before the game, Miller alluded to an Illinois-Wisconsin Big 10 Conference matchup when explaining what his team needed to do to win on Saturday. In that game, he mentioned how vital it was to secure rebounds and San Marcos understood the message loud and clear, especially junior forwards Malik Presley and Mateus Perkins. Presley’s energy around the glass awarded him with eight first-half rebounds. Many of them were on the offensive end, including a putback that gave San Marcos a 21-10 lead. 

“I thought the thing he did the best tonight was rebound,'' Miller said of Perkins’ performance. “He gained us some extra possessions on the offensive glass. We need him and Malik in particular, but all our players, when they go in, to go strong and get us some extra possessions. We want to rebound offensively over a third of our misses. I'd have to look at the stats. I will soon but I think we did that tonight. And Mateus really brought that junkyard dog mentality.”

The junkyard dog mentality Miller mentioned carried into the third as Perkins got an offensive rebound and was fouled on the follow up. Meanwhile, Presley turned his attention to adding points to the score column by his name. He got hot scoring 11 of his 27 total points, including a buzzer-beater in isolation to end the third against Bowie’s zone and a 45-28 advantage heading into the final frame.

Although Bowie’s zone slowed the pace down, the Rattlers have seen it all season and made adjustments attacking it progressively throughout the year.

“Not gonna lie, it has been a struggle,” Presley said. “But we came a long way, especially since the start of the season. We've known coming in since last year because we know last year, everybody's watching us play. So we knew we’d see a lot of zone, so we’ve practiced that basically every day in practice.”

In comparison to Tuesday night's loss, San Marcos had trouble stopping the hot hand of Del Valle guard Damareon Williams. On Saturday it was Bowie’s Branden Myart leading the charge for a comeback inside the Snake Pit. He scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and cut the hosts’ lead down to as much as five with multiple downhill layups attacking the rim. Fortunately, the purple and white had a guard by the name of Kaden Gumbs who’s almost impossible to stop at full speed. In the final two Rattler possessions, Gumbs mimicked the layups Bowie was getting in order to hold on to a 55-51 win at home. 

“It was two games in a row now where somebody got going in the fourth quarter,” Miller said. “It was the small guard from Del Valle who did a great job in the fourth quarter and in overtime. And now tonight, (Myart) made a lot of plays going downhill. I guess we just have to show hands, stay out of foul trouble and then to just be a little grittier against guys when they're trying to get into the paint and compete like we started the game. If we bring that competitiveness all the way to the fourth, when we play with a double-digit lead, you're gonna hold them off.”

Presley finished with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds. Perkins added eight points and 10 rebounds to the stat sheet.

San Marcos (25-8, 8-3) has a chance to clinch its first playoff berth since 2017-18 on Tuesday, taking on Austin Akins (6-20, 0-10) on the road at 8 p.m. After Saturday’s game, Miller told his team to “stay relaxed, stay focused and have fun.”

“All of these things I've talked about are important,” Miller said. “But a team that's relaxed, a team that's enjoying it, teams that are having fun as long as they're locked in is going to be a team that's going to advance. I want them to enjoy the process and cherish every moment of this team and get in the gym and work on their shooting. Once we start knocking down shots at a little higher rate, we're gonna be a dangerous team because it's all about the playoffs for us. Getting in next week with one more win and then getting playoff ready and trying to advance in the playoffs.”

San Marcos Record

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