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Roswell tops Lovington

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The Coyotes almost let one get away from them Friday night at the Coyote Den. With the Lovington Wildcats (12-13, 2-3) in town for the last game of district play, Roswell (18-7, 3-2) would allow unanswered points, turnovers and mistakes to give the Wildcats a shot at the win. A late fourth-quarter surge and a lineup substitution would allow the Coyotes to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat for the 75-64 win over Lovington.

The first quarter was a back and forth with Roswell committing an early turnover. “Every time we start off with a turnover, and we’ve gotta find a way to stop doing that, so we’re gonna have to try and get some different guys in there,” Coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said after the game. “We just can’t make mistakes the way we did tonight.”

Tarren and Taymon Burrola would pitch in seven points each in the first half, with Jasia Reese and Isiah Carmona adding four points each to give Roswell a 35-26 lead at half-time. Roswell’s Logan Eaker struggled early, but Victor Bolanos would come in and help hold back the Wildcats.

“I thought Victor gave us some big minutes there in the middle when Logan was kind of struggling. You know, Vic’s a big body so that helped us out on that part,” coach Burrola said. “Logan finally played better in the second half.”

The second half of the game loomed large after Roswell dropped a close contest to the Artesia Bulldogs on Tuesday. Opening the second half with a nine-point run, the Wildcats began to get Roswell on the ropes. Taymon Burrola would end the Coyote’s dry spell with a three-pointer at the 5:40 mark of the third quarter. However, Lovington would put up another eight uncontested points before Roswell began to get its rhythm back. Reese would add a three-pointer and Carmona would hit a two-point bucket before the quarter came to an end, with Lovington taking the lead 46-43.

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“I just wanted to see us get back to where we were, you know, see how we would respond,” coach Burrola said. “We had two really good days of practice. I thought this week they were pretty focused. I thought we played a pretty good first half and then we just had that first two minutes of the second half that we didn’t do anything.”

The fourth quarter would see the Coyotes turn around a slow start to the second half before pulling away with the lead one last time. Eaker finally caught fire and scored eight points and Taymon Burrola would add another six to his team, leading 16 points. After Roswell took a 51-50 point lead with 3:31 left in the game, they would never lay off the gas and cruised to a 64-57 win.

“Nava had a good game for us, he had a big rebound there at the end. He tipped it back to Jesia and we kept the possession on our side after we missed a free throw. So that was a big part of the game for us on that,” coach Burrola added.

Roswell will next face the winner of Goddard and Lovington Thursday at the Coyote Den at 7 p.m.