Home Sports Local Sports Coyotes squeak out win again; Cheyenne Martinez hits game-winning bucket for RHS

Coyotes squeak out win again; Cheyenne Martinez hits game-winning bucket for RHS

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Roswell High School junior goes up for the Cheyenne Martinez game winning shot against Goddard Friday night at the Coyote Den. (David Rocha Photo)

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The Roswell High Lady Coyote basketball team eked out a razor-thin victory over the visiting Goddard Rockets 31-30 Friday night as junior Cheyenne Martinez hit a short runner in the lane with :02 seconds remaining to give the hosts the victory and move to 2-2 in the ultracompetitive district 4-5A race. The basket sent the home fans into a frenzy while sinking the Rocket faithful as they held the slim one point lead for the final 2:10 only to lose the heart breaker.

Coyote Coach Fernando Sanchez described the final frenetic moments. “They executed it exactly like we drew it up coming out of the timeout. We kind of felt like they were going to chase Alex (Gonzalez) coming off the double screen, so we were able to set the double screen for Alex and Valeria (Ibarra) did a good job of selling the first screen and setting the second screen for Cheyenne. We got her the ball and she attacked the basket and she’s long and tall that she was able to get over (and make it). The best part about making up a play is when the kids make it work.”

With the Lovington squad using a huge second half to down Artesia the same night, the Wildcats have the district lead at 3-1, followed by Artesia, Roswell, and Goddard with two games to be played next week.

“At the end of the day, we talked a lot about protecting the ball, getting rebounds, and knocking down free throws,” said a disappointed Rocket coach JaredNeighbors. “And, in the last minute, we didn’t do any of that and gave them the 4-5-6 chances in the last minute…and they made the last one at the buzzer. We know what we have to do. We have to do that to be successful. We got two more games and we can’t get our heads down. We just got to keep pushing through.”

The Coyotes got off to the early lead as they used a very patient offense to get around the Rocket zone. The ‘Yotes used scoring from three different players – two buckets from Alexandra Gonzales – to lead 9-2 over the Rockets. The visitors could only manage a couple of free throws from Camarynn Villalpando in the early stages of the opening quarter.

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The Rockets – led by Villalpando – would manage to get back into the game as they went on a 8-0 run to finish up the stanza and lead 10-9. Villalpando would hit all three buckets aided by back-to-back steals from senior Eden Wiggins and a block by Bailey Beene.

The second quarter was very close as there were three ties and no lead greater than 2 points. Both teams missed a lot of easy buckets and both teams had there fare share of turnovers.

Wiggins would give the Rockets two of the ties with hoops to make it 12-all and 14-all. Allie French would get a hoop for the final tie at 16-all. In all three cases, the Coyotes would answer with baskets from Anna Bell, Makenzie Tarin, and Nayeli Morales. Morales’ hoop with :08 seconds remaining would give the hosts an 18-16 lead at the break.

The third quarter was a dismal one for the Rockets as they could manage only two early buckets from French down low. The second one came about two minutes in and tied the contest at 20-20.

The Coyotes would hold the Rockets scoreless for the final six minutes and get baskets from Kaitlyn Holl (a big three from the top of the key) and from Martinez who got a great cross-court pass from Tarin. The Martinez hoop would make it 25-20 heading into the final frame.

The Coyotes would stretch the lead to 29-20 following a Martinez basket to match their biggest lead of the night. Incidentally, it would be the last hoop until the aforementioned game-winning basket from Martinez.

Coach Fernandez spoke of the lack of offensive from both squads. “They did some things that pestered us a bit and I think the same thing for us. We did some things that pestered them. I think that a lot of that too is from emotion. All kids on both sides were emotionally charged and they really want to win because it’s the rivalry game. That’s the way rivalry games should be played.”

The Rockets would stage a furious rally to regain the lead. They would use a layup from Beene and French and two baskets and two freebies from Villalpando to retake the lead. Villalpando’s free throws came with 2:12 to go and would give the Rockets their first lead since the end of the first quarter.

Both teams had their opportunities to either stretch the lead or retake the lead, but nothing would materialize until the very end with Martinez’ heroics. The final hoop gave the Coyotes the 31-30 lead and gave them the much needed momentum heading into the final week of play.

“The district is really wide open,” stated Neighbors. “Now we are sitting in fourth. So, we just got to do a better job.”

The Rockets host the district leading Lovington Wildcats on Tuesday while the Coyotes travel to Artesia that same night. If both local teams win, the Wildcats and Coyotes would both be 3-2 with a final game to be played on Friday evening.