By Kyle Spencer
Twenty wins for a high school basketball season usually foreshadows a trip to the playoffs. San Marcos high school is a perfect example of this. Under the leadership of head coach David Norris, the Rattlers made another jump into the realm of high quality basketball. They finished the regular season with a win over San Antonio Memorial and improved their overall record to 22-9 and their district record to 13-3, finishing second behind Alamo Heights.
The makeup of the team fits the mold of the basketball revolution that is taking place at all levels of the game. Coach Norris plays more toward the small ball aspect of the game, taking advantage of the talent in the backcourt and all-around athleticism of the team. Making teams work with full court pressure and a very up-tempo style. Jake Brown and Steven Price are the dynamic duo that serves as the catalyst for this team. Their ability to shoot from the outside, penetrate at will, and see the floor really opens up San Marcos’ transition game and provides most of the scoring for the team as well. Jake Brown averaged 15.6 points per game in the regular season, earning himself the second spot in district with Steven Price, at 14.9 points per game, right under Brown at third. These two seniors have had an unbelievable final run and coach Norris is happy to have his veteran backcourt.
“These guys are the best mid-range jump shooting team that I’ve had. During the game, I’m not really watching them but going back and watching film and watching some these guys shoot the ball. It’s been a real pleasure seeing these guys, Steven and Jake. We are never out of the game as long as these guys have the confidence and they’ve been playing with a lot of confidence,” said Norris.
After starting district play with two losses, coach Norris said that the seniors had a meeting and addressed the situation. Shortly after that, the whole team got together to regroup. Talk of a district championship was the main point of conversation in these meetings and the team wanted to follow suit with their goals. Coach Norris gives the team ideals and messages everyday and most of these messages revolve around practices. Norris said that he, as a coach, needs to win practices before the team will win games. After the team meeting and dropping two district games, coach Norris noticed a difference.
“I could tell the practices picked up from there. We went on a winning streak and that kind of catapulted them. It was really on them, not so much of what I did. Our seniors were determined to get them back in the situation to be district champs and it went down to the last game where we still had a chance to be district champs. They kind of picked things up and I could see the intensity and the level of practice really picked up,” said Norris.
The Rattlers will be rolling in hot to the playoffs on a six game winning streak. The team hasn’t lost a single game in the month of February. Over those past six games, the Rattlers have been averaging a shade under 70 points per game while holding opponents to only 57 points per game. In their most recent victory, four San Marcos players hit double figures with junior Sean Price and senior Jake Brown both scoring 18. Tuesday, the Rattlers will be facing off against San Antonio Lanier down I-35 at Canyon High School. Lanier comes into the matchup with a 12-4 record in district 28 and a 19-13 overall record. The Voks started the season on a five game losing streak and struggled for most of non- district play. Wins didn’t start coming until around the middle of the season when district play began.
Lanier has size at all positions which could be a problem for the Rattlers down low, as they typically play small ball. Expect to possibly see big 6-foot-8-inch Sean Williams play some crucial minutes in this game. Speed and 3-point shooting are two areas that San Marcos can look to take advantage as Lanier does not shoot well from behind the arc nor do they play very fast.
This game is a rematch of last year’s first round match-up that went to the buzzer. The Rattlers snuck away with a 63-61 win over the Voks. A lot of seniors on this year’s Lanier team will be looking to avenge their early exit last year. The Voks held Jake Brown to only 11 points in that game while Sean Price went off for 22. Jake Mcgee was the hero of the game with his last second tip in to seal the deal. Lanier was the favorite in that game, winning their last 16 of 17 before going into that match-up. It’s not too much of a stretch to say the Rattlers might hold the advantage. It was only right for Lanier to get another shot at San Marcos in the first round once again.
This first round match-up is set for Tuesday, February 23 at Canyon high school in New Braunfels. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m..