Home Sports Local Sports Rockets edge Rams in overtime 74-65

Rockets edge Rams in overtime 74-65

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Goddard’s Dalin Stanford does battle against Portales Tuesday night. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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The Goddard Rocket basketball team earned a big 74-65 overtime win over the visiting Portales Rams on Tuesday night to move above .500 on the season (8-7) and gain a measure of vindication from an earlier matchup with the Rams. Earlier in the season, the Rockets shot a dismal 5-of-18 from the line in an overtime loss in Portales but saw a much better performance of 9-of-12 in the overtime period to gain the win.

The Rams, ranked #2 in 4A, were coming off a tournament title at the Littlefield, Texas, tournament but could not overcome a late-game collapse that saw them lose 62-57 lead with 57 seconds to go. The Rams got a great game from senior captain Braden Bridges who had a game-high 25 points, but he couldn’t stop the Rocket onslaught in the final overtime period as they were outscored 11-2.

“Overall, it was a good game,” stated a happy coach Anthony Mestas. “Portales came in and started to shoot lights out — they had like 15 threes against us! We had to tighten it down in the second half and really pressure the ball and their shots. We just found a way to win. Free throws were huge for us down at the end of the game which was great.”

The Rockets got great performances from senior Dalin Stanford who scored 24 points — mostly in the paint and with numerous Ram defenders draped all over him — and from junior Jonah Chavez who had numerous big defensive plays all while running the offense from his point guard position.

Coach Mestas was very happy with how this duo played. “(Stanford) had to work super extra hard. They were holding him, grabbing his jersey, they were grabbing his arms, but he was catching it and going up and was a workhorse down there.” He continued, “(Chavez) came out on fire. He’s like the Energizer bunny — he’s everywhere, he’s on the floor, he’s in the bleachers. He’s always getting after that ball. He brings that speed and that determination.”

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The opening quarter saw the Rockets get off to an early 7-2 lead until the Rams got hot. The five-point edge would be the largest for the hosts until the overtime period. The Rams would go on a 12-0 run that saw them hit two of their four opening quarter three’s to go up 14-7 with 2:59 to go.

The Rockets would slowly trim the lead as Stafford would get a turnaround in the paint and Tommy Madrid would hit a hoop with 1 seconds to go to cut the lead to 22-18 at the quarter break. Madrid would finish with 20 points on the evening.

The game would stay very close for the remainder of the evening as neither team could go up by more than four as the Rockets would pound the ball inside and the visitors would continue to bomb away from the outside.

The Rockets would go up early in the second quarter as Chavez, the district leader in assists, would feed Hunter Beene for an easy hoop and the 27-26 lead — their first since 7-6. The hosts could not maintain the lead as it would go back and forth throughout the quarter.

The Rams would get back-to-back hoops from Bridges to take a late 35-31 lead, but The Rockets would answer with a late 6-0 run that saw Jonathan Carrillo hit a hoop at the buzzer for a 37-35 halftime lead.

The third quarter saw five lead changes and three ties as neither team would give any ground in the ever-increasing tight, exciting game. Bridges would score 10 of his team’s 16 points including a late three to give the visitors (7-4) a 51-50 lead heading into the final frame.

The final quarter was more of the same as neither team could gain significant ground. With 57 seconds to go, the Rams had the aforementioned 62-57 lead and the ball but imploded as Stanford would score the final 5 Rocket points in the frenetic final moments. He would hit two down low — the second with 44 seconds to go following a steal and pass from Brandon Montanez and then hit two free throws for a brief 63-63 lead. The Rams — who had missed the front end of a bonus shot — got 1-of-2 to fall with 9 seconds to go and the tie 63-63.

“We found a way to win,” stated Mestas of the final frantic seconds of the quarter. “We put a little press on and we started to get the ball — they started to turn it over and we started to make our shots. We had a chance to win it in regulation but we went into overtime. We played Portales to overtime over there and they beat us because of free throws. I felt like we won this one because we finally rebounded and we knocked down our free throws.”

The Rockets would dominate the overtime period as they would hit 9-of-12 free throws and get a bucket from Stanford to ultimately win the contest 74-65.

The Rockets travel to Alamogordo on Friday for a matchup with the 5A Tigers. Alamo has a win over Roswell High to their credit this season.