The path through the 2013-2014 basketball season was a bumpy one for the Tolar boys, but the young Rattlers seemed to be coming around near the end.
The Rattlers won two of their last three games in District 10-2A play and finished 3-9 with Friday night’s 52-34 loss to second-place Godley. Tolar was 3-16 overall.
Tolar advanced into the football playoffs, so several of the varsity players got a late basketball start for the second year in a row.
“The football team went a couple rounds deep, so they got out here basically three weeks later than other teams did,” Rattlers coach Kent Caruthers said. “If we had three more weeks in season we would have a lot better record. They did a real good job for me.”
Seven Tolar basketball players had been lost to graduation the previous year off of a team that reached the 2A playoffs and was eliminated by Brock, which went on to reach the state finals for a second straight season.
Caruthers said that after starting point guard Riley Osterman was lost to an injury earlier in the season, the team’s lone seni or, T.J. Foster, moved from his forward position to play guard for the first time.
“T.J. is basically the only one that started for me last year,” Caruthers said. “They’re a great group of kids to work with and they gave me all they had all year long. I felt like we started coming together in the last two weeks. I really feel positive about what we’ve got coming back next year.”
Dakota Endsley was Tolar’s leading scorer on the season, averaging 11 points per game. Hunter Ryan and Foster tied for the team lead in rebounding, each averaging eight.
In Friday’s season finale at home against Godley, Endsley led the offense with 11 points while Ryan added nine.
Tolar was limited to four points in the opening quarter, and was down 19-10 at intermission.
“We came out early and turned the ball over,” Caruthers said. “They’re a very good defensive team. But we just made some bad passes. We tried to force some things that weren’t there. They got up on us early and they slowed it down. So we had to come out from what we were doing, out of our zone.”
Godley had another surge in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rattlers 20-10.
Although the Rattlers had to change their game plan, Caruthers didn’t think the team did a bad job of adjusting.
Tolar reserve Heston Buckalew twisted a knee and had to sit out most of the third and fourth quarters, Caruthers said. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.
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