Errors and forced shots in the second half prevent Rangers from earning their first win.
By Alejandro Diaz
Despite leading by 6 points in the second half, the Rangers lost to the Northwest Vista College Wildcats 79-71 Oct. 26 in Candler Physical Education Center.
The Rangers seemed to be in control as they built their 1-point lead at half into a 6-point lead at the start of the second half.
The Wildcats didn’t panic and slowly closed the gap until they took the lead with 10 minutes remaining and never relinquished it.
A combination of errors and lack of execution by the Rangers allowed the Wildcats to build their lead by as much as 11 points in the following minutes.
Ranger coach Louis Martinez showed frustration on the sidelines, especially during the last minute, as he repeatedly shook his head, looked down and said “dumbest errors.”
Martinez said lack of experience contributed to losing the past couple of games.
“Right now we are just young; we are young at the point guard spot,” Martinez said. “We don’t have a grip on the game. We don’t have someone in control on the floor, so it’s hard to do the things that we want to do offensively. We just don’t execute right now. We are inexperienced, and that’s just something that we have to learn.”
The Rangers struggled offensively at the start of the game, scoring only a field goal in the first four minutes of play, which allowed the Wildcats to lead by 11 only six minutes into the game.
Business management sophomore Chady Joukeh provided a much-needed energy spark for the Rangers, coming from the bench to score 15 of his 20 points in the first half.
Using the 3-pointer and Joukeh’s hot hand as their biggest weapons, the Rangers erased the Wildcats lead, and at the half the score was 35-34 for the home team.
After trading baskets early in the second half, the Rangers built a 5-point lead thanks to back-to-back steals by radiation therapy freshman Samtrell Smith. Those steals led to a layup converted by nursing sophomore DeMarcus Berry and a 3-pointer by applied science freshman Eric Contero.
The Rangers pushed their lead to 6, but the Wildcats reacted and took the lead for good when they scored a 3-pointer.
The Rangers struggled at the end, as the ball refused to go in, allowing the Wildcats to extend their lead to 11. The Rangers scored a last-second basket that set the final score at 79-71.
Berry had 19 points before he fouled out with 2:10 remaining in the game. Smith fouled out with 9 points and 34 seconds left on the clock.
Joukeh, who led the Rangers with 20 points, said they lost their rhythm in the second half.
“We had a really good first half, but they were better in the second half,” Joukeh said. “We didn’t play defense as we usually play.”
For Martinez, defense continues to be something the Rangers have to work on, although he saw some improvements he hopes they can build on.
“We showed spurts tonight,” Martinez said. “At times we look really good on defense and sometimes we don’t. So it’s just a lack of experience because some of these guys are not used to playing at this level with this energy and this kind of defense. So it’s going to take a while before they are accustomed to it.”