San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 6th, 2009
Rattlers clinch playoffs with second half defense

STAFF REPORT

Seeing only 16 minutes between themselves and a spot in the boys high school basketball playoffs, the San Marcos Rattlers delivered a sterling defensive second half in the Snake Pit Friday evening and dispatched Lehman, 47-34.

The Rattlers clinched no worse than third place in District 17-4A, which will send four teams to the playoffs. Now 21-9 overall and 7-3 in the district, the Rattlers still have a good chance of finishing second, while the possibility of over-taking Del Valle for the league championship remains alive. However, Del Valle, which started Friday night 8-0, would just about have to lose all its remaining games for the Rattlers to come out on top.

San Marcos plays next Tuesday night at Manor, which began Friday night 7-2 in the district. After an off night next Friday, the Rattlers will close out the regular season the following Tuesday at Del Valle.

The Rattlers and Lehman stayed tight in the first half, which ended in a 22-22 tie. But the Rattlers made a little distance in the third period and continuously built their lead to the end. A three-point shot by Lee Bryant with 2:45 left built the lead to 40-30.

With the game basically decided, Cameron Austin put an exclamation point on the Rattler’s newly minted status as a playoff team with his dunk as 1:01 remained, giving them a 44-31 lead.

“We were disappointed with the first half,” San Marcos coach Rob Shivers said. “We knew we just had to play on and play like we had something to prove.”

The loss put a damper on Lehman’s playoff hopes, though the Lobos remain alive. At 13-14 overall and 3-6 in the district, the Lobos are in fifth place, behind Elgin, which began Friday night 4-4 in the league.

“If you can win out and don’t worry about it,” Lehman coach Thomas Acker said. “But the kids are disappointed right now. They knew winning this game was our best scenario for going to the playoffs. We have to be careful that we don’t define our season on this game.”

The Lobos play at home against Del Valle, then play at home next Friday night against Elgin and finish their regular season at Hays on Feb. 17. While the Lobos certainly stack up well against Hays and Elgin, no one in this league has been able to close the deal against Del Valle, which has squeezed through its share of close games. For example, Del Valle beat San Marcos and Hays by only three points each.

“I’m not going to count us out against Del Valle,” Acker said. “We’ll game plan and get ready to play.”

Lee Bryant led the Rattlers with 15 points, followed by Austin with nine. But Aaron Canady proved to be as solid as anyone for his defensive work primarily against Lehman star Kenny Weber, who finished with 12 points.

“He’s a tough kid,” Shivers said of Canady. “He takes a lot of pride. We challenge him to be a defensive stopper. He’s probably giving up four or five inches a lot of times. The first time we played them, Weber was significant.”

San Marcos took a 15-8 lead through the first quarter, then Lehman dominated the second quarter to tie it at halftime. But the Rattlers knew one more half would put them in the playoffs, and they played like it in the second half.

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