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Roswell gift wraps win for Las Cruces

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Roswell High School junior Tarren Burrola looks to make a move against a Las Cruces defender Friday night at the Coyote Den. (David Rocha Photo)

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This game didn’t feel like the Roswell Coyotes were playing the No.1 team in 6A. In fact, it didn’t feel like a big game atmosphere at all. There was no junior varsity game to warm the crowd up and there were just as many Las Cruces fans.

Just like little kids wait for Christmas the night before, so were many of the Roswell fans, as they kept waiting for their favorite team to explode and put away the Bulldogs. The explosion happened but it was too late as they had to climb from a 14 point deficit. There was not enough shots to plug the holes of turnovers and missed rebounds as the Las Cruces stole a game away from the Coyotes, 64-54 at the Coyote Den Friday night.

“Roswell does a good job,” Bulldog coach William Benjamin said. “They shoot the ball very well and they big man Logan “Eraser” Eager is very good. I think our defense did a good job of limiting Eaker’s ability to score tonight.”

After Roswell fought to tie the game up and take the lead, it was a back-and-forth basketball, which Coyotes taking the lead. With 2 minutes left until halftime Tarren “Broil” Burrola hit a two-pointer in the lane to give them the lead at 20-19. For most of the second quarter it looked like coach Moses “Dude” Burrola was trying to buy time as he played a smaller lineup and they held their own until with two minutes left, the Bulldogs who had been playing man-to-man all game put on the press and in a matter of one minute the game was over as it went from the Bulldogs being down 20-19, to them going into the locker room up nine points as the Coyotes scored one point the rest of the half. Roswell turned the ball over five times in a matter of a minute. The suddenness of Las Cruces’ offense was like being overrun by a gust of wind- it happened suddenly.

“They are going to have problems with the press,” Benjamin said, “given how young they are with all of their sophomores, come next year they are going to be pretty good.” “But they will be a force when they get into 5A play, plus they have the big man (Eaker) back there.”

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The game didn’t get going until the Coyotes climbed out a 7-0 hole until Tarren “Broil” Burrola hit a 3-point shot with 54 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Coyotes a 13-10 lead. The Bulldawgs came back to tie the game at 13-13 to end the quarter.

“When you have only one guy score for you, you’re in trouble no matter who you play,” coach Burrola said. “With a team like Las Cruces you’re not going to win against the No.1 team in 6A. “We’ve talked to the players about who is going to stay after practice work out and get things done and put the effort in. We didn’t have that tonight.”

Once again, Roswell death is their inability to handle the press. Most teams they will face in district 5A are not as good as Hobbs or Las Cruces. But come tournament and state time, the Coyotes have to figure out a way to handle the press successfully and consistently and learn how to play situational basketball no matter who is in the game.

“I told the guys that we have a tough schedule,” coach Burrola said. “I told the guys that Las Cruces is the No.1team in 6A, but I felt like we should have beat them. We are going to have dot figure it out and do better.”

At the same point in the season last year, Roswell was 7-3. For the first time in a long time, Roswell is on a three-game losing streak, they are now, 7-5 on the season. Coach Burrola will give his team some time off before the Poe Corn tournament.

“I don’t think its time to panic.” coach Burrola said, “but I do think it’s time to get it in gear.

Roswell (7-5) held the Bulldawgs (11-0) to 64 points, eight points below their season average, and scored more than the 44.9 points Las Cruces has allowed this season.

Tarren Burrola score 28 points, Eaker added nine, Dominic Nava chipped in with seven points.

Roswell will play in the Poe Corn Tournament where they will play Farmington on Thursday at the Coyote Den.

Valencia 49, Goddard 41

Goddard’s Dalin Stanford score a team-high 16 points as they went on the road to face Valencia, and came up short, losing 49-41 in Valencia Friday night.

It seems like the Rockets not only went cold from the field but stayed cold shooting 17-of-49 from the field.

“That can’t win you many games,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said. “We were very sluggish in the first half.”

Goddard (5-6) gets a taste of home cooking as they host the Poe Corn Tournament on Thursday against Bloomfield.

Hagerman 64, Elida 53

Hagerman overcame a 13-8 deficit and hung on to get a road win against Elida, 64-53, Friday night. Leading scorer for the Bobcats was Osbaldo Najera with 23 points, and his running mate Chris Manz added 15.

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