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Artesia looks to continue momentum


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ARTESIA — Before asking to preview his schedule this week, Michael Mondragon head boys’ basketball coach at Artesia High School was asked if he wanted to add a postscript to winning the Gallup Invitational.

“I was really pleased with our guys,” he said.

Pleased maybe an understatement for Bulldog fans. Artesia took care of the competition en route to winning the title.

“I’m really excited for these guys with what they accomplished and now we gotta get ready for a busy week,” Mondragon said.

The week starts off this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. as the Chaparral Lobos (2-10) come to town.

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For Artesia (9-4) this will be a chance for fans to see the team before they hit the road this weekend.

“They’re scrappy,” Mondragon said of the Lobos. “They play hard (and) we’re gonna have them outsized a little bit, we gotta make sure we use that size to our advantage.”

Friday and Saturday, the Bulldogs head to Los Alamos and Albuquerque.

Friday night, Artesia takes on the Hilltoppers. Artesia played them during the Poe Corn Invitational in Roswell winning 52-43.

“Two big 5-A schools,” Mondragon said of the Hilltoppers and Del Norte Knights.

Noting the Bulldogs have already played Los Alamos, “second time you play them things are going to be a lot different. They do match up with us size-wise, we have to make sure we use our advantage size wise to inflict our press on them.”

Saturday afternoon, Artesia will conclude the short trip against the Knights. Mondragon said their record is misleading. It is 4-9 heading into tonight’s game against Gallup-Miyamura.

“They’re an underrated 5-A team,” Mondragon said.  “They play such a brutal schedule, playing the 6-A schools in Albuquerque and they have no control over their scheduling.”

Mondragon added, “they’re gonna be a lot better than their record says.”

Artesia wraps up the non-district portion of their schedule next week with a home game against Carlsbad on Jan. 16 and then road games at Alamogordo and Santa Teresa on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

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