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Bulldogs get a break before league play

Artesia Lady Dog Gracie Puentes goes for an easy basket against Ruidoso Saturday. Artesia has one more non-league game tonight at Gadsden before district play starts Friday. The boys and girls host Lovington at the Bulldog Pit. The Bulldogs are off tonight. (Greg Brown Photo)

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ARTESIA — After playing multiple games in multiple weeks this month, the Artesia Bulldogs are getting a break this week.

District play starts Friday night at the Bulldog Pit, it will be a doubleheader with the girls taking on Lovington at 5:30 p.m. and the boys will play at 7 p.m.

This past weekend the Bulldogs concluded non-league play splitting with Alamogordo and Santa Teresa. The Bulldogs have a 13-6 record heading into district play later this week.

Bulldogs Head Coach Michael Mondragon said he was pleased with that part of the schedule.

“For the most part we were injured, with our road heavy schedule and with us being 13-6, I’m really excited with us going into district,” he said.

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“That road heavy schedule is going to help us improve and help us get better and really push us. We feel we have come out of it and survived it,” he added.

Heading into this week, Mondragon said the team is ready for a good week of practice. He said that has been a rare thing for Artesia in recent weeks.

Lovington is 10-9 and has a non-district tune-up tonight against Alamogordo.

“Lovington is scary athletic,” Mondragon said.

“We gotta make sure we can locate them and they’re gonna want to push the tempo. We gotta make sure we do a good job taking care of the ball,” he said.

Another key to victory, according to Mondragon is execution on both offense and defense.

“We’ve already played them once, so we’re already familiar with them and they were missing some guys and we were too. It’s gonna be back to square one, this is going to be a grind every single game,” he said.

With league play starting this week, who does Mondragon see as the favorite?

“Until somebody can beat Roswell, they’ve got to be the favorite. They’ve won the district the last four years since I’ve been here. I think we’re right in the mix, we’ve played two of them and we’ve already beat Goddard and Lovington.”

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