By William A. Peters
In a game of inches, the men’s basketball team lost 81-76 Wednesday against the Northeast Lakeview Nighthawks.
The Rangers failed to rebound many lost shots in NLC’s wellness center. This has worked in the past for 3-point shots, but they needed to be more aggressive in this game, coach Louis Martinez said before the game.
“Rebounding, boxing out, making sure everyone gets contact, good touches, getting into the paint,” he said.
Midway through the first half, the Rangers were up 30-15. The Nighthawks battled back for 7 points in three minutes after tightening their defense.
A Nighthawk called for teammates to watch the corners. With under a minute left, the team gained a lead of 37-36.
In fewer than 30 seconds, criminal justice sophomore Rosco Parson and kinesiology freshman C.J. Salazar landed two 3-pointers for a Ranger lead of 42-37 at halftime.
They scored three times to open the second half but lost the lead, 44-42, in a little over two minutes.
The Rangers took the lead back 57-48 minutes later by converting rebounds, passing the ball to the open man.
The Nighthawks and Rangers tied multiple times, neither team getting a significant advantage. With 6:45 left on the clock, the Nighthawks went on a 7-point run to secure a 75-70 lead.
With under two minutes left, broadcasting freshman Jackson Lyder brought them within 3.
With 39 seconds left, Parson intercepted an inbound pass and threw the ball against a Nighthawk to force a turnover.
The Rangers tried to move the ball around to open up shots, but each 3-pointer failed to tie the game. The Nighthawks recovered one of the missed shots and were fouled by the Rangers, resulting in two free throws, sealing the Nighthawks victory.
It was the Rangers’ first loss, the Nighthawks’ first win.
“A tough one to lose,” assistant coach Steve Ochoa said after the game. He said the Rangers need to improve their ball movement and shot selection
The team plays Southwest Texas Junior College at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Candler Physical Education Center.