The Goddard Lady Rockets, ranked 6th in 5A, wrapped up their non-district schedule with a resounding 69-27 victory over Loving, ranked 10th in 3A, Saturday afternoon inside Ground Zero. The Rockets nailed eight 3-pointers in the first half to get off to a quick start and saw 10 different players score as they improved to 12-8 on the year.
“We came out focused and worked on the things we need to work on to get ready for district,” stated coach Jared Neighbors. “I thought we did well protecting the ball, rebounding, and just did a real good job passing the ball around to find the open shooter. We knocked down shots, which helped.”
The rare 3A vs 5A matchup saw a hustling, scrappy Lady Falcon squad fight throughout, but with point guard Alyssa Carrasco – their lone senior – held in check by a bevy of Rockets, they were largely overmatched from the opening tip. Carrasco was averaging 21 points and eight steals on the season, but was held to nine.
“They are a scrappy team,” said Neighbors. “We knew coming in that she (Carrasco) was the key, so we keyed on her. Hitting shots helped, but they are a scrappy bunch and we kind of deflated them with taking her out of the game and hitting the shots that we did early on.”
The Rockets’ Camaryn Villalpondo caught fire immediately as she hit three 3-pointers to give the hosts an early 9-2 lead. The Falcons stayed patient and played the Rockets on even terms as they drove to the inside and the Rockets were content to bomb away.
Following a tough turnaround jumper by Jacelyn Johnson, the score was a manageable 15-10 Rocket lead. The score quickly got out of hand, though, as the Rockets went on a game-defining 21-0 run that spanned the remainder of the opening quarter and the first six minutes of the second quarter.
In that run, Villalpando continued to score as did Eden Wiggins who scored 11 points and Bailey Beene who finished with eight first-half points. By the time the Falcons’ Anyssa Rodrioguez hit a long three-pointer with 2:00 minutes to play, the score had ballooned to 36-10.
The Rockets finished the final couple of minutes with an 11-0 run that saw Villalpando hit two more hoops for a commanding 47-13 lead at the break. Villalpando, the district leader in points and rebounds, would finish with a game-high 23.
Third quarter would fly by as a combination of a running clock, numerous substitutions, and fouls would prevent much scoring by either squad. The Falcons would get five free throws and the Rockets would nail two baskets for a 52-18 lead heading into the final frame.
“I was real pleased with getting to play a lot of kids today,” said Neighbors. “We got everyone in and that’s just a good moral boost going into district.”
The Rockets would outscore the visitors 17-9 in the final period as all the Rockets got to play and contribute. Carrasco would get a three-point play at the 5:33 mark to make the score 59-23. The basket was the first for Loving (9-4) since the Rodriguez bomb in the second quarter.
The Rockets then got baskets from Grace Shea, two from Lana Morley, a final freebie from Beene, and a three from PJ Villareal with 2 seconds to go to wrap up the big 69-27 victory.
Coach Neighbors is looking forward to a competitive district slate with Roswell High, Artesia and Lovington. “It’s who shows up. You look at scores across the state within our district and anybody on any given night can win or lose. We are focusing on being consistent and controlling the one thing we can, which is us.”
The Rockets start district play on Friday with a home contest against Roswell High, the defending district champions.