The high school basketball season has been a prelude to now. Now is where the rubber meets the road. If you’re the Roswell Coyotes boys team, they must be chomping at the bit to get back on the court. If there is a prohibited favorite to win district crown again, it’s them. And if you’re Goddard, Lovington and Artesia, it is a new season, anything can happen on any given night.
What has been a 26-game schedule has been reduced to six district games, and a game in the district tournament. If a team was hot like Roswell, or if it was struggling to find itself like Goddard, it doesn’t matter. All teams are equal. Win district and the district tournament and the you’re headed to state for a shot at the Blue Trophy.
First-year coach Moses “Dude” Burrola doesn’t seem to have lost a step in taking over for Hall of Fame coach Britt Cooper. Burrola has a young team but has an established senior in Logan “Eraser” Eaker in the middle. Eaker will have to play big in his matchup with Goddard’s Dalin Stanford tonight. He must get Stanford in trouble and hold him off the board.
In the first game the two teams played, Roswell won going away, 81-59 to win the Poe Corn Invitational on Dec. 30.
Roswell has gained experience with several sophomores. The Achilles’ heel for the potent Coyotes has been their inability at times to break the press. Hobbs and other teams threw the press at them and some games they lost that they should have won, and in others, they had to hang onto.
One of their strengths is the speed of guard of Jasia Reese, to go along with steady Isaiah Carmona. Roswell is never out of a game because of their three-point shooting, with All-State candidate Tarren Burrola. Burrola has range almost out to the half court, and he has one of the quickest releases in the district. Taymon Burrola is able to create his own shot and can do it from the inside lane to the three-point line.
Goddard coach Anthony Mestas has his team in a precarious position, they have the potential to win the district and go deep into the state. Yes, they have lost five games they should have won, but if they have learned from those losses they can be a tough out for a lot of teams.
Goddard is deeper, with a week off, they have had a chance to get Derek Carrica back. Carrica is key in their high-low offense. He serves as another enforcer to back up Stanford. Stanford is the main man they have to get going.
The Rockets are supposed to get another guard back in Brandon Montanez to team with one of the quickest guards in the district in Jonah Chavez. As the season has progressed Mestas has gone deep into his bench and been pleasantly surprised by the play of rugged Hunter Beene who has been a physical force inside by rebounding the ball and playing defense.
Tommy Madrid is always open and dangerous from either corner and will shoot. Ryan Terry has come off the bench to give Goddard another big body to go inside too for offense. Sophomore Xavier Garcia may be the wildcard on the team, if he is on he can light up a team for a quick 20 points and call it a night.
Coach Michael Mondragon has his team contending. In this six-game season, a lot will be found out about the Bulldogs. They’re not as athletic as Roswell or Goddard. They defeated Goddard,50-39 on Dec. 7. Artesia lost to Roswell, 69-53 on Dec. 29 at the Poe Corn Invitational.
The Wildcats are playing without two of their big men for the season. They open district play against Artesia. Lovington lost to Goddard, 68-33 on Dec. 29, at the Poe Corn Invitational. They also lost to Artesia on Dec. 30.,47-36.
Goddard coach Jared Neighbors has his team playing well together. Each player knows their role, with Bailey Beene handling the ball and able to get to the lane. Camarynn Villalpando is able to go coast-to-coast and hit the three-point shot. She also has a nice mid-range game.
Grace Shea has matured and is the floor leader, Shea does the dirty work getting rebounds and overall hustle. Eden Wiggins can and will shoot from the three-point line, she is capable of igniting a rally. Goddard’s problem is they cannot afford to get into foul trouble.
Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez has seen improvement from his team this season. His problem is getting them to believe they can win and to play consistently the whole game. The Coyotes have some players to work with as Kaitlyn Holl has become the go to scorer. Guard Anica Dillard has become comfortable running the show this season. Look for big things out of the “fire and ice” combination of Cheyenne Martinez and Alexandra Gonzalez. Gonzalez always plays hard, sometimes to her detriment as she is prone to get into foul trouble.
Artesia coach Jeff Houghtaling is looking to shock some team in district play this season. They are capable of giving any team in the district a hard time.
Head coach Casey Pack is looking to earn a district berth this season, to do so they will have to knock off Goddard and Roswell.