Kaden Gumbs scores two of his game-high 20 points leading the Rattlers to a 53-50 victory over the San Antonio Warren Warriors on Friday night. The Rattlers played in the Regional Semifinals on Saturday after the Daily Record's time of press.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Mateus Perkins and the Rattlers celebrated after the victory.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers strike for bite at Regional Finals
SAN ANTONIO - Survive and advance is the name of the game in March and the San Marcos Rattlers (38-3) with their brotherhood mentality and a hard, gritty effort knocked off the San Antonio Warren Warriors 53-50 on Friday night.
The No. 8 ranked Rattlers, led by senior point guard Kaden Gumbs, scored a game-high 20 points, while senior Malik Presley had 14-points. It was their aggressive, stingy defense that had propelled San Marcos into Saturday’s Regional Final game at Northside Gym in San Antonio.
“It definitely feels great to have the community behind us; it was an hour drive over here and we had 2,000-plus people make that drive,” Gumbs said, noting the San Marcos community support. “It is very amazing. I feel like the community loves us and we love them. They came out for a show and we gave it to them.”
It was an even contest through much of the game as the Rattlers and the Warriors each wanted the chance to play again Saturday. In the first quarter, San Marcos jumped out to an early lead behind a 3-ball by Gumbs, but the Warriors would fight back to notch the score at 9 apiece before San Marcos took a 12-9 lead after one.
“Overall, it was just a great basketball game tonight,” said Rattler head coach Dan Miller. “I don't think it was our cleanest game of the season, but like we have most of the year, we found a way to win tonight. That is why I’m so proud of the guys, and just the amazing city and community of San Marcos to support us tonight.”
Throughout the second quarter, the momentum would shift back and forth as the Warriors would knock down some big shots from behind the arc, but then the Rattlers would tighten up their man-to-man defense continuing their aggressive game plan on the offensive end.
As they have the entire playoffs, San Marcos was led by their big three in Gumbs, Presley and senior Jayven Cofer. But once again, the role players this night came in and played a key part in securing the victory.
“Everyone knows Malik, Jayven, and myself are the top players on the team, but the role players really stepped up,” Gumbs said. “Cash (Good) hit big free throws, Zyair (Jolivette) got big stops, Mateus (Perkins) boxed out and got hard rebounds, and Isaiah (Deleon) came in and did his thing. It was just all a team effort.”
Nearing the end of the first half, the Rattler senior point guard came up with another big defensive steal from Warrior point guard Aden Mendez near halfcourt, to get the fast break layup to give San Marcos a 24-22 lead at the break. In the third quarter, the Warriors’ senior forward Jaylen Crocker was able to finally get going inside, scoring in double-figures in the quarter. Crocker was held in check to just one point in the first half. He finished with 17 points for the game, before fouling out in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
“We did start out slow tonight, but we regrouped in the locker room, and Coach Miller had a great gameplan,” Presley said. “Crocker was in foul trouble early, so we capitalized on that. We have been playing against each other since we were little. He is a great player and we knew he was going to be a big presence in the paint. With him getting in foul trouble was not great, but I have to tip my hat to him.” The game plan Miller said in the second half was to continue to be aggressive and not settle for bad shots.
“Crocker was tough and he really got us in the second half,” Miller said. “We went at him a lot, and I felt like he could’ve fouled a little earlier, but that was by us being aggressive. We didn't settle too much tonight. Our message all week to the guys was to attack the paint.” With the score tied at 39 after three, that Rattler brotherhood and willingness to play for each other was evident as was the electric atmosphere in the stands encouraging San Marcos to get the edge in the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter battle continued as neither team could pull away from the another. There was no lead greater than four points. With the Warrior star forward fouled out, the Rattlers moved to their small lineup with Good and Jolivette proving to be the difference.
Good hit his second bomb from behind the arc and Jolivette was able to hit a layup in fast break, and then Good knocked home a free throw to give his Rattlers the 53-50 lead. The Warriors could not connect on a corner 3-ball at the end of the game.
“Those two (Good and Jolivette) all year long have done great things on defense, and when they need to on offense,” Miller said of these underclassmen. “It was a big step up for Cash. It seems like whenever there is a big moment, he is ready to shine.”
San Marcos was set to face the No. 15 ranked San Antonio Brennan Bears for the regional final championship Saturday after the Daily Record's time of press. The winner gets a berth in the state tournament.
See the results of Saturday's Regional Finals game online at sanmarcosrecord.com