MISSION – The Sharyland student body preceded Tuesday’s showdown between the Rattlers and the Nikki Rowe Warriors by bringing in a student dressed up as the biblical Moses to lead the crowd in cheers. Apparently the ancient prophet still had a couple of miracles up his sleeve to help the Rattlers outlast the visitors in two overtimes, winning 74-73 in a game long to be remembered by those in attendance. The win puts Sharyland all alone in the top spot for District 30-5A.
“Awesome game,” said Rattler head coach David Keith afterwards. “Hats off to Rowe.”
To achieve the victory, miracles were indeed called for. For one, star guard Jesse Pistokache picked up two fouls in the fourth quarter—the last one in the final minute—forcing the young but talented leader to sit the rest of the fourth and the two overtimes on the sidelines. The mandatory order to the bench was a perceived blow for the Rattlers as Jesse had just picked up a hot shooting touch that allowed the freshman to score 12 second half points after only scoring two in the first. Further, Pistokache’s smooth dribbling skills accompanied his hot hand, leaving his team without his ability to score or calmly lead the offense.
So when the young man sat down it appeared Rowe would be in full control to win the game, using their suffocating full court press to frustrate the Shary ball handlers. However, brother Quino and others such as Ian Guy, Matt Cardenas and Eduardo Garcia sufficiently held tough to keep possession of the ball and withstand Rowe’s attempt to put the game away.
“I think Quino stepped up as a ball handler and showed his ability and experience,” said Keith.
Though the Warriors did score a last second basket to send the game to overtime, Sharyland was not ready to falter.
Quino, Garcia and big man John Horner led the charge to pick up the slack by scoring fifteen of their team's seventeen points in the two overtimes.
However, the key baskets came in the final seconds of the second overtime. With Sharyland leading by one, Horner used his size and strength to put in a bucket to extend the lead to 73-70. The big man was counted on to play well after the team’s other big man, John Madrigal, had fouled out earlier.
“I felt calm,” Horner said afterwards of his feelings being his team’s only big inside presence. “I just played my game.”
However, Rowe came right back to hit a three with just over ten seconds remaining, tying the game and perceivably extending the match to a third overtime. Unfortunately, the Warriors made a crucial mistake when their full court press caused the remaining Pistokache to be fouled with just less than six seconds remaining.
Though surprised by the foul, Quino went to the line with confidence and the commitment to end the long battle at the charity stripe.
“I’m going to win this game no matter what,” said Quino of his thoughts at the time.
Though the senior missed the first free throw, he knew he had one more. To Rowe’s dismay the guard calmly put the ball through the net, concluding an epic, even miraculous game.
GAME MVP: The entire team. In the locker room after the win the team gathered into a circle and yelled, “FAMILY!” Perhaps there was no better description to fit the Rattler’s play and effort on Tuesday night. Though the two Pistokache’s led the team in scoring, everyone seemed to contribute in key ways. John Madrigal was a beast on the boards and scored the team’s first points; Ian Guy and Matt Cardenas were solid contributors; John Hoerner stepped up his play when Madrigal fouled out, scoring key baskets at end of the first and second overtimes; Eduardo Garcia had an amazing banked shot in the final overtime. Overall, it was just a beautiful effort by a group of kids you can see really care for one another and play as a team.
#30 Quino Pistokache 19pts
#21 Jesse Pistokache 14pts
#24 Eduardo Garcia 12pts
#34 John Madrigal 10pts
#5 John Horner 7pts
#23 Matt Cardenas 4pts
#12 Ian Guy 4pts
#20 Andres Cantu 4pts
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.