The Rattler boys basketball team has won three straight games to improve to 17-5 this season and improve its chances of winning a district championship. The Rattlers won two very close games against Madison and Johnson. Against Madison, the Rattlers had to come back with a solid 4th quarter after a monstrous 3rd quarter by the Mavericks, and they eventually got it done, 70-67. The rival Johnson Jaguars came back from a double digit deficit thanks to 33 points frim Luke Wilshire, but a bucket with one second left by junior guard Michael Williams sealed the deal in a 70-68 victory. The Rattlers had a solid victory against the Roosevelt Rough Riders, cruising 70-50.
The Rattlers came out in the second half against Madison with a 3 point lead, but the Mavericks exploded in the 3rd quarter to take a four point lead into the 4th. Without Michael Williams, known for his late game heroics, the Rattlers needed some other players to step up.
In the final minutes down by two, junior big man DJ Macleay blocked a shot and then ran down the floor on the way to a game tying lay up on an assist from senior Jack Johnson. The Rattlers then came up with another stop on the defensive end, and then senior Connor Knight came up with a lay up that gave them the lead.
Madison started fouling, and soon enough the Rattlers took a 67-60 lead and it looked like the Rattlers would come away cleanly with a victory. But Madison got back in it with two FTs and a quick jumper. Bryan Hardy and Robby Benavides made three free throws to make it a 70-67 lead, and the Mavericks missed a game-tying shot to give the Rattlers the victory. Knight led the Rattlers in scoring with 17 and Macleay had a near double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Hardy chipped in with 14 points.
After being out for over a month, Reagan’s star guard Michael Williams returned in limited minutes. The Rattlers had a solid 41-25 lead early in the 4th quarter, but the Jaguars stormed back and took the lead 52-51 on a three from Luke Wilshire, who led all scorers with 33. But Hardy drilled a three to regain the lead. After another Hardy bucket, Johnson went on a 7-0 run to take a 59-56 lead.
With the score 61-59, Hardy passed it to Macleay for a 3 pointer that gave the Rattlers the lead. With just over a minute left, Wilshire drilled yet another lead to tie the game at 66. Since there is no shot clock in high school basketball, Coach John Hirst had the Rattlers hold the ball the rest of the game and Michael Williams scored his only points of the game on a game winner with one second left. DJ Macleay led the Rattlers with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Hardy and Knight combined for 31. Jack Johnson also chipped in 8, and Robby Benavides had 5 assists with 0 turnovers.
The Rattlers outscored Roosevelt 21-16 in the first quarter, but that was before the onslought begun. The Rough Riders were held to only 14 points in the next two quarters combined. After a third quarter buzzer-beating three by senior Andrew Theodoss, the Rattlers led 52-30 and pretty much had this one wrapped up. Macleay led the Rattlers with 24 points, and Knight had 13. Hardy and Johnson were also in double figures. Benevides helped with 7 reboubds and 5 assists.
The Rattlers next play the Churchill Chargers, who are undefeated in district, and if the Rattlers can win it will help them greatly in the district standings. After that, there are only five games left in the regular season for the Rattlers, who have a deep run in the playoffs in sight.