ONE GAME AT A TIME: San Marcos looks to continue magical run in Regional Semifinals
The year is 1983. Mario Bros. is first released on the Nintendo to worldwide acclaim, M*A*S*H airs its final episode that is watched by 125 million people, and the San Marcos Rattler basketball team makes it to the Regional Tournament.
Since then 40 years have gone by and while Mario has continued to be a worldwide phenomenon, the Rattlers with their 62-46 win over Reagan on Tuesday have finally found themselves back in the Regional Tournament, for only the 3rd time in school history, after all these years.
But if you know anything about these Rattlers and Coach Dan Miller, who was 8 years old in 1983, this magical run has been at the back of the teams mind.
"I'm proud of the guys and their accomplishment and thankful for the city for getting behind us so much," said coach Miller. "But I think that with some of these records that we are setting this year, we are not too focused on them. Honestly, I tell the guys that we'll look back at them after the season and so we just stay in the moment and really locked in on just going one game at a time. But after the season I think that we'll all reflect back and and look at some of these things that we accomplished and be really proud of them."
The playoff push has been no easy task for the Rattlers who have faced a top 25 opponent in their last 2 games in Westlake (#13) and Reagan (#21). Senior guard Jayven Cofer attributes his teams success to the work they've put in all season
"We work hard and grind every single day," says Cofer. "So in moments of the game if I'm struggling, or Kaden or Malik are missing shots, we got our young boys that are ready to step up at any moment, they just know be ready to shoot, be ready to knock it down."
Added to these playoff wins has been the crowds that San Marcos has brought for each of their games. In their Area Round win over Westlake people had to be turned away because there was no room available. Even that didn't stop some fans who watched through the window of the doors to the gym.
Rattler Up!!! pic.twitter.com/GARScUZ8Qn
— Coach John Walsh (@jwalshrattler) February 25, 2023
"We've never had a packed crowd like we have had this year," said senior point guard Kaden Gumbs. "So to see the whole community behind us, no matter where we go, how far it is, they're willing to do whatever just to support us. You saw on Tuesday, we had a bunch of people out there and we were just warming up. The game had not even started. So I love it."
One of the keys to the Rattlers success, and by proxy something that makes them fun to watch, is their pace of play. The Rattlers love to play up-tempo and if it's one thing coach Miller preaches for his team it's their pace of play.
"We stress and say the word fast daily and with everything we want to be fastest spots, want to be fast down the floor," coach Miller says. "We want to be fast on defense, putting pressure on people, and speed the ball up the floor. And I do think we tend to wear teams down sometimes because of it. Our guys are in very good condition."
As for what the Rattlers can expect as they turn their attention to Warren for today's Regional Semifinal matchup, well coach Miller didn't want to give away too much but notes that at this point every opponent will be a quality opponent.
"At this point in the season, every team across Texas is good," said coach Miller. "And I think our region, honestly, is the toughest region of the the four. All four of us are state ranked, have over 30 wins, and three of us are district champions and with the other one, being a runner up."
And while coach Miller, Gumbs Cofer and the whole Rattler team are locked in and have an one game at a time mindset, for the senior heavy team, they know they have built something special in the city of San Marcos with this team and have appreciated every second of it.
"It's a brotherhood," said Gumbs. "I can't say anything else more than that. We all brothers here on off the court, we love each other, we play for each other.
"My favorite team I ever played on in my entire life," Cofer adds. "To be honest, our togetherness and brotherhood has grown so much these last two years since I've been here. It makes it so easy for us to just play out on the court and feel so natural because we are just so connected every single day with each other."
You can catch the Rattlers in their Regional Semifinal game against San Antonio Warren tonight at 5:30PM in San Antonio at the Northside Sports Gym. But knowing their last few games, get their early as the stands are sure to be packed.