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Lady Rockets win opening game of tournament


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The Goddard High School Holiday Classic tournament got off to a great start Thursday as the visiting Albuquerque Academy Chargers charged off to a 2-0 lead and played tough for the first quarter. Goddard missed several open looks and managed to take the lead at 7-5 with 1:57 left in the first quarter and never looked back.

Goddard’s “Titanic” trio of Bailey Beene, Camarynn Villalpando and Eden Wiggins just crushed Academy with 3:15 left in the second period. Wiggins got the party started by hitting two 3-pointers in a row. Beene scored on a layup, and Villalpando hit a two-pointer at the top of the key to give them a 30-7 lead.

“Goddard’s top five is pretty talented,” Chargers coach Karen Baxter said. “They sped us up and the craziness which benefitted Goddard, you look up and they hit two 3s and it before you know it we are down 10 then 15 points.”

The Lady Rockets held the Lady Chargers scoreless in the second period as they won the opening game of their tournament at Ground Zero 44-28.

Goddard (8-5) was fresh after being off over the Christmas break and it showed as they missed open looks they wouldn’t normally miss. Once they hit one shot it lead to the floodgates opening.

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“We have a tough schedule,” Goddard coach Jared Neighbors said, “kind of like Roswell. I’m pleased with where we are at right now. Our five losses are against top teams in 6A-5A divisions. We have some good wins in our classification for seeding later, it’s good to get back to playing today.”

The Lady Rockets are playing better on the defensive end of the floor since they played Carlsbad at home. Each player knows their role on the team. With Beene handling the ball she can take it coast to coast and go behind her back and between her legs. Beene is able to stop on a dime and create her own shot. A lot of times in this game she was a facilitator looking to get one of her teammates involved. If none of those options fit she will stop and pull up for a three-point shot.

Villalpando has the same ability to create her own shot as well. In this game she looked to drive the lane and take the ball to the bucket. Wiggins is the three-point sniper of the bunch as she hit two 3’s from the top of the key to get her team going. This team has three capable scorers who can take over a game at any time. With an unselfish defense, players throwing their bodies around the court for loose balls and rebounds and each player making the extra pass, coach Neighbors is happy with the way his team is playing as district play approaches.

“We’re unselfish,” Neighbors said. “We know who needs to be putting up shots. I’m real pleased with our teamwork and our hustle. Today our defense was amazing, I was very pleased with our defense.”

Goddard plays El Paso Burges at home at 8 p.m. today.

Roswell 53, Belen 47

Once again, the Lady Coyotes were pushed. With a one-point lead with 1:30 left in the game, Roswell looked for their hottest player over the last two weeks, Kaitlyn Holl. Holl didn’t mess around and hit a 3-pointer to give them some breathing room as they hung on to win 53-47 over the Belen Eagles Thursday at the Coyote Den.

“We didn’t play very well,” Coyote coach Fernando Sanchez said. “We played well enough to win. Our effort was there in spots and we finished the game strong, but we need a more consistent effort.”

Roswell (4-9) overcame a slow start in the first quarter, trailing 9-14, and managed to outscore Belen the rest of the game. Today, the Coyotes take on Franklin El Paso. Against them, they will be facing a team that has played 19 games this season. Franklin plays a hard man-to-man defense, and has a guard that averages 20 points a game.

“They are extremely well-coached, Sanchez said. “We are going to have to play well for four quarters.”

Roswell plays at the Coyote Den against Franklin El Paso at 8 p.m. today.

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