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Artesia splits in Lovington

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LOVINGTON – The Lovington Wildcats (11-13, 3-1) outscored the Artesia Lady Dogs (13-11, 2-2) in the second half and came away with a 57-47 win to start round two of District 5-4A play.

“First half we played really well and executed our game plan well I thought,” said Jeff Houghtaling, Artesia’s head coach.

He said the Lady Dogs came out and made a number of shots in the opening half.

Artesia had a 32-21 lead at intermission and that vaporized in the second half as Lovington outscored the visitors 16-4 in the third period and 20-11 in the final period.

Houghtaling said ball control was Artesia’s problem along with fouls.

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Despite being outscored in the second half, Houghtaling said the Lady Dogs stayed within striking distance of the Wildcats.

Artesia senior Gracie Puentes was the leading scorer for the Lady Dogs with 14 points.

“I thought Gracie did what she’s been able to do for the course of the season,” Houghtaling said. “She gets good shots and does well around the basket, I’m real proud of that. I thought the girls as a whole played hard, I just felt we didn’t play as smart as we could in the second half.”

Houghtaling added that his team played hard, “I think we got nine or ten kids in the game, that’s pretty satisfying for me as a coach to be able to have that kind of depth to get them in the game and play hard.”

He added that Lovington plays well at home and that his team needs to put the game behind them and get ready for Tuesday’s home game against Roswell. Tip off is set for 5:30 p.m at the Bulldog Pit.

Artesia Bulldogs 59, Lovington Wildcats 44

Game two was a different story for Artesia as senior Chaney Hardt had 18 points and fellow senior Taylor Null had 16 points as the Bulldogs (16-7, 3-1) defeated the Wildcats (11-13, 1-3).

The Bulldogs had a 17-7 lead at the end of the opening period. They outscored Lovington in the second and third periods and then in the final period both teams scored 13 a piece.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Michael Mondragon, Artesia’s head coach. “It was a great team win.”

The Bulldogs wrap up district play next week at home with games against Roswell and Goddard.

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