They had come off what they considered a disappointing first-round exit the previous year and entered the 2022-2023 season with a senior-heavy team with key players including Jayven Cofer, Kaden Gumbs, Mateus Perkins and Malik Presley –the District MVP.
The Rattlers would go on to have one of their best seasons in program history, going 38-4 on the season, winning a district championship and advancing to the Regional Finals.
“There were no excuses this year,” said Presley. “A lot of us already had like two or three years on varsity, so we knew coming in this was our year to do something.”
For second-year head coach Dan Miller, he knew this senior class could be special shortly after being hired on as the new head coach.
“I didn’t know how talented they were until I got to spend a few days with them and then you could see how special this class was,” said coach Miller. “They were always open with our plan from day one, so it was great to see them improve from their junior year until now.”
The start of the season was not without its hiccups as starter and Texas State-signee, Kaden Gumbs, was out in the beginning of the season with an injury. However, the Rattlers would battle through the adversity, going 25-2 heading into district play.
“Our first goal was winning a district championship,” senior Jayven Cofer said. “We obviously wanted to make a run in the playoffs and go far, but that top goal was definitely the district championship.”
For a program that had not won a district championship since the 1998-1999 season, one could imagine the pressure a team might have. But the Rattlers would thrive on the pressure, going 8-1 heading into their last game and needing a win to clinch the outright district championship.
“After New Braunfels beat us at their place, we knew we still had one more game to win district outright. We did and that was such a great feeling,” coach Miller said. “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know, and I was really proud of that moment for us and the school.”
One of the underrated aspects to their run this season has been the fan support from the first game of the season to the last.
“It was awesome to have all year long,” senior Mateus Perkins said. “With that kind of support behind us, I mean how can you not be motivated to play basketball?”
In the postseason, the Rattlers would go on to defeat Reagan (62-46) and Warren (53-50) before falling to a red-hot Brennan team who advanced to the State Tournament.
While their historic run may have ended sooner than expected, San Marcos reached heights they had not seen in decades. The season showcased what the Rattlers and coach Miller are building for the future.
“We did a good job of setting a good example for the underclassmen,” said Presley. “And you know, I’m going to miss it.”