Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
After 23 regular-season games, it comes down to three games in district play. Not one team is out of district title contention. Roswell, Goddard, Artesia, and Lovington have to face each other starting today and ending next week. Chavez County basketball fans should know that just like the NFL, on any given game, these teams are capable of beating each other on the other’s home floor.
If the playoffs were to begin today every team in 5A would get in according to New Mexico Preps. Roswell fell two to the fifth seed. Goddard is ranked ninth seed; Artesia is 10th seed, and Lovington is the 12th seed. As teams start their last trio of games, it is must win for every team and game.
Roswell (17-6, 2-1 5A) has been on a rollercoaster of a ride this season. At times, they have looked like the LA Lakers “Showtime” of the 80s where coach Moses “Dude” Burrola has just rolled the balls out and put them on autopilot. Then there have been games when they have had trouble closing teams out with a big lead and making it closer than it has to be.
At times, it seems like they seem to relax on both ends of the floor, and they tend to let teams back in games. This year they have had trouble with the press, and in some pressure situations, they have problems executing fundamentals at times.
Easily one of the top four teams throughout the state in talent, they tend to forget to play inside out. On defense, they tend to gamble, which allows for teams to challenge Logan “Eraser” Eaker at the rim.
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On the offensive end of the floor, there are at least five players on the team that can get 20 points and blow a team out in a span of five minutes. Mostly a perimeter shooting team, at times the Coyotes will go long stretches without looking inside to Eaker.
If they are going to do damage in the stretch run, they have to play inside out and to open up the three-point shot. Another problem is that tend to get into foul trouble, and lately, they had trouble hitting their free throws consistently. It could be because this is a young team with only four seniors.
Often teams have played a diamond defense or a box-in-one on sharpshooter Tarren “Broil” Burrola. Burrola is the team’s leading scorer averaging 19.4 a game. Tarren can get his shot off against anyone at any time, whether he is driving in the lane, and he has the quickest catch and shoot on his three-point shot. Eaker is second on the team in scoring averaging 13.7 and has to get involved in the game early in the beginning of the game and after halftime. Freshman Taymon “Bake” Burrola is third on the team averaging 10.6.
Tonight, Roswell will face cross-town rival Goddard for the third time this season. In their first meeting at the Poe Corn Invitational, the Coyotes won, 81-59, on Dec. 30.
In their second meeting at Goddard, the Rockets faired better, losing 59-47, as they came back from a 20-point deficit at halftime to get the score back to within four points as they held Roswell scoreless for four minutes in the third quarter.
Roswell will face their nemesis at the Coyote Den tonight at 7 p.m.
No one needs this game more than the Rockets, in a season which they have had opponents throwing dirt on their coffins. Goddard coach Anthony Mestas used a half-court shot by junior Jonah Chavez to give them momentum in the second half. In the third quarter, they held Artesia to two points, and 10 points total the rest of the game.
Goddard will have to have that kind of an effort on the defensive end of the court tonight. Senior Dalin Stanford has to play big down the stretch run if they Rockets are going to make a run toward the postseason. Stanford plays so hard, he has been prone to get into foul trouble early in the first and third quarter. Stanford leads the team in scoring with 16.7 points.
Coach Mestas seems like he has a new team, some of his players like guard Brandon Montanez has come back healthy after an injury kept him sidelined for most of the season. Derek Carrica played his best game of the season as the team used him as a safety valve to run their offense through. Carrica when he was guarded by Artesia’s Taylor Null, he either drove to the basket or made the right pass to set up his teammates for a scoring opportunity. On the block showed a new move, as he spun counterclockwise in the air totally catching his defenders off guard. Carrica was able to get the Bulldogs post players in foul trouble as he has perfected and up and under move with an assortment of head-fakes. Against Artesia, he scored 16 points.
With Stanford in foul trouble, it has been a blessing in disguise for Mestas, as he has had to go to the bench and use younger players. Hunter Beene will hustle and play defense, but more than anything, he has become the team’s enforcer as he brings a football mentality and toughness to the team. Beene will bang the boards on both ends of the floor and go after loose balls.
In the second-half against Artesia, the Rockets imposed their will on them and forced them out of their offense, as they put a body on them when they went down the lane. When Goddard missed shots, they quickly found Artesia’s outlet man and made them walk the ball up, in essence, they stopped their fast break.
Mestas has found depth with his interior players, like Ryan Terry, who can come in a score on a mid-range jumper and will battle on the boards. Jonathan Carrillo has been seeing action and can score. When Goddard needs a three-point shot, they look to Tommy Madrid, though he is averaging 6.8 points a game, he is not afraid to let it fly from behind the arc. In the Artesia game, he scored seven points to bring Goddard back. The X-factor is Xavier Garcia. If Garcia is hitting his outside jumper, he can give teams trouble.
Goddard goes as their little general Chavez goes. Chavez controls the tempo, pace and looks to get everyone involved on offense. With the hands of a pickpocket, he had 11 steals against Artesia. He seems to play his best basketball against the best guards in 5A.
The place where the Rockets are vulnerable is once their press is broken teams seem to get easy layups or they are fouled. On offense, Goddard misses a lot of chip shots at the basketball. If they are to make a run in the last three games of the season, they have to find a way to stay out of foul trouble and not get behind on the scoreboard. It seems like they are playing from behind a lot of times. They must find scoring from more than two players on the same night.
Now is the time that most teams want to be playing their basketball with three district games to go, and one district tournament game. Tonight begins the survive and advance mentality.
Goddard plays at 7 p.m. tonight at the Coyote Den.