Goddard basketball coach Jared Neighbors didn’t let his girls stay down long after back-to-back defeats to the No. 1 and 2 teams in District 4-6A. Instead, Neighbors used those losses as teaching tools to help his girls get better. The defending 5A champs know their early losses came in the first week of the season, and they didn’t have their full team together for a preseason basketball camp.
Volleyball had just finished the week basketball season started. His girls haven’t had a chance to rest. Neighbors intimated that he knew his girls would be fine and when they play in their own 5A competition, they would be more competitive once the volleyball players got into basketball shape.
Goddard entered the Al Armendariz Tournament last weekend and if there were any doubts about them being able to play well together, it was erased with three straight wins. The Lady Rockets defeated Española, 43-39, and then Aztec, 46-26, and cruised to an easy victory over Capital in the championship game.
Goddard held a 20-point lead in the first half. In the second half, Capital made a run with their crowd getting into the game. Goddard withstood Capital’s press in the second half, as Goddard’s Bailey Beene hit jumper after jumper for a game-high 14 points. Eden Wiggins scored 10 points, and Camarynn Villalpando added nine points.
“I was really proud of us coming down here and playing three 5A teams,” Neighbors said. “Our goal was to win the championship, and we did that. I told the girls I didn’t care how we did it. I just wanted the win. It wasn’t the prettiest at times, but we showed a lot of heart and hustle. Allie French, Grace Shea and Amber Aguilar do a lot of the little things that no one pays attention to.”
Goddard had four girls make the All-Tournament team: French, Wiggins, Beene and Villalpando.
Tuesday night, Goddard played the No.1 team in District 5A Los Lunas at Los Lunas.
Goddard started slow and had trouble scoring in the first half. In the fourth quarter they held Los Lunas to a free-throw. The Lady Rockets suffered their third loss of the season, losing 60-23.
Goddard (4-3) will play Gallup in the City of Champions Classic in Artesia at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.