Above, San Marcos celebrates their first district championship since the 1998-1999 season. Below, Malik Presley, 22, goes up for the rim rattling dunk to add another two points for the Rattlers. Presley finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo
Above, Parent/Senior Night activities highlight the pre-game moments at the Rattlers final home game against the East Central Hornets on Feb. 14. Gathering for a group shot with family are this year’s class of senior players. The Rattlers followed this celebration with a key win, 75-61. The team took home its first district championship since the 1998-1999 season. The team will move into the Bi-District round of the UIL high school playoffs. As of the time of press, it was undetermined as to whom the Rattlers would face in the playoff game. Below left, Malik Presley, 22, passes the ball as three essential East Central High School defenders attempt to steal the ball. Presley finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo
Rattler Basketball team wins district title for first time in 24 years
San Marcos made history as the Rattlers defeated the East Central Hornets 75-61 to win the program’s first district title since the 1998-1999 season.
Despite transferring to San Marcos last year, senior guard Jayven Cofer was proud of his classmates for accomplishing a goal they set before the season started.
“I’m happy for my teammates,” Cofer said. “When I came in last year and I was ruled out, we always had these goals set. This is just the first of many and we still have a long way to go.”
It’s been a historic season for Rattlers as the team not only won the district championship but also broke a school record for most wins in a season with 34.
For a group that has had the highest of ups and the lowest of downs, head coach Dan Miller was happy to share this moment with his team.
“It feels so great because the guys are so deserving,” Miller said. “This senior class has worked hard and been through a lot in their four years both on and off the court. They had to deal with the Covid Year and went through a coaching change halfway through their high school career. For them to come together, embrace our message and live it out is really special. I couldn’t be more happy for them.”
The Rattlers were coming off their first district loss in a 7166 defeat to the New Braunfels Unicorns which snapped a 27game winning streak.
Coming off of the emotional loss, there was no time to dwell on the loss too much knowing San Marcos had a chance to make history against East Central in front of the home crowd.
'The one thing that coach (Miller) always preaches is looking in the present,” Cofer said. “You never want to look ahead into the future but rather focus on the now. You also don’t want to look in the past so we just broke down the film and focused on mistakes from the last game and we move forward.”
As the Rattlers flushed the loss out of their system, it was back to the drawing board to make some simple changes.
“It was just a reset for us,” Miller said. “In the game of basketball it happens when the ball doesn’t bounce your way … we just had to get back to a few basics but not change much. We just focus on shooting and taking care of the ball better. For the most part, we did that tonight.”
The focus of Miller’s game plan against East Central was finding a rhythm with the offense while also controlling the game.
“We wanted to find ways to get our guys the ball in space a little bit better,” Miller said. “We found Malik and Kaden set the tone tonight.”
The result was three players in double figures with Kaden Gumbs leading the team with 21 points, Malik Presley with 20 points, and Cofer with 19 points.
Gumbs was also able to achieve the double-double along with 10 assists.
With the district championship in tow, San Marcos will now look to add another gold ball to their collection come the postseason.
“It would mean a lot to win the first playoff game since the 2014-2015 season,” Miller said. “It’s a new season so we have to hit a reset. We don’t change what we are doing but you have to be focused and sharp. In the playoffs, everyone is good and each round becomes more difficult as you advance. But we have both the team and the seniors for it so we are excited to get back to practice and focus on our next opponent.”
San Marcos will play the fourth place team out of District 28 which will be determined before press release.
The Bi-District round of the playoffs will start Feb. 20-21.
cmcwilliams @sanmarcosrecord.com Twitter: @ColtonBMc