ARTESIA — “The best remedy for a loss is to play right away and get a win.”
That’s what Jeff Houghtaling, head coach of the Artesia Lady Dogs (10-9), said after his team vanquished Ruidoso (6-13) 68-25 Saturday afternoon at the Bulldog Pit.
His words came on the heels of a 45-42 loss the night before to Alamogordo.
“We came out and played aggressive in the first quarter and worked ourselves into a decent lead,” Houghtaling said.
Artesia led Ruidoso 25-1 at the end of the opening period. Juniors Kyrah Gonzales and Brehnan Davis sank some shots from downtown for the home team. Gonzales had 16 points and the majority of them were from long range. Davis finished with 5 points.
“That really helped us playing with a cushion from the beginning,” Houghtaling said.
He added that allowed Artesia to get loose. Ruidoso managed to outscore the home team 14-10 in the second period. It wasn’t enough as the Lady Dogs led 35-15 at the half.
Artesia dominated in the second half outscoring Ruidoso 14-2 in the third period and 19-8 in the final quarter. Senior Gracie Puentes was the Lady Dogs’ leading scorer with 20 points.
Tuesday, Artesia heads to Anthony for the final non-district contest against the Gadsden Panthers.
The Lady Dogs have a 1-0 edge as the two squads met late last year in the Los Lunas Tournament with Artesia winning 62-43.
“We need one more game,” Houghtaling said of the impending contest. “I think one more game is really going to help us polish up, we’ve got a little more time to look at some film of the district teams and prepare for those guys.”
He added, “We’re looking forward to that game against Gadsden, but district is moving to the top of our mind. I think we’re getting ready to jump right in there and get after it.”
Ruidoso was led by senior Hailee Blake with 8 points.
On the road, it seems the Artesia Bulldogs were following the Lady Dogs. Friday night, the Bulldogs lost a close contest to the Alamogordo Tigers, 50-47.
“The Alamogordo game for three quarters was probably the best basketball we played all year long,” said Michael Mondragon, Artesia’s head coach.
He said the team executed on both offense and defense.
“In the fourth quarter we just got into some uncharacteristic positions. Turn the ball over, we didn’t make free throws, unfortunately we just made too many mistakes and they made enough plays to come back and get us.”
Saturday afternoon in Santa Teresa, Artesia (13-6) avenged the loss with a 46-29 win over Santa Teresa.
“Just a good way to bounce back and end our pre-district schedule,” Mondragon said. “It’s kind of crazy but 10 out of our last 12 games have been on the road and during that stretch we went 9-3.”
Mondragon said realistically his team should be 11-1.
“At the end of the day, we’re 13-6, finished a great game today and found a way to win and now we gotta get ready for district,” he said.
Senior Chaney Hardt had 9 points for the Bulldogs in Saturday’s road win and sophomore Clay Houghtaling had 8 points.
District play for Artesia starts Jan. 26 at home against Lovington.
By Mike Smith
Roswell Daily Record