Roswell’s girls’ basketball coach Fernando Sanchez was told he’d have to take his team on the road and play the same Lovington Wildcats basketball team he had just beaten on a last-second buzzer shot, 51-49, on Friday night at the Coyote Den.
He was also told his team would be the fourth-seed based on point-differential with Lovington. On Feb. 2, Lovington defeated Roswell 57-48. On Feb. 16, RHS defeated the Lady Wildcats, 51-49, but the margin of Roswell’s win wasn’t enough to give them the home-court advantage in this game.
Sanchez looked at Roswell Independent School District Athletic Administrator Brian Byrd and said, “No problem.”
Well, on Tuesday night, coach Sanchez was a man of his word, receiving stellar performances from Kaitlyn Holl, Anica Dillard, Alexandra Gonzalez and Cheyenne Martinez as they dismantled the Lovington Wildcats 50-43.
“The girls played well and very disciplined tonight,” coach Sanchez said. “Anica took very good care of the basketball tonight. She got us into our offensive sets and really took control.”
In the first quarter, the Lady Coyotes defense frustrated a cold shooting Lovington team. Roswell jumped out to a 14-7 lead as senior guard Anica Dillard hit a three-point shot from the top of the key and Alexandra “Fire” Gonzalez and Cheyenne “Ice” Martinez each scored four points in the quarter. Roswell’s defense held Lovington scoreless for three minutes in the quarter.
“Cheyenne (Martinez) has been really playing well lately,” Sanchez said. “Her offense has always been there, but she has really improved her ball handling and on the defensive side of the ball.”
In the second quarter, Holl, and Gonzalez scored five of the team’s nine points in the quarter. Gonzalez played a little too hard, as she picked up a technical when she said something to the referee. That slowed their momentum in the final 1:25 in the half. Nevertheless, the Lady Coyotes took a 27-17 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Gonzalez opened up the scoring with a three-ball from the corner, to give the Lady Coyotes a 30-17 lead. Holl was the key as she scored five points from the free-throw line, and Martinez was able to get loose in the lane for two points as the Lady Coyotes took a 37-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the move of the game was made by Coyote coach Sanchez, when he left Holl in after she picked up her fourth foul with 5:30 to play in the game. Holl stayed out of foul trouble and scored three points, with her last basket coming at 1:20 to play in the game. Gonzalez and Martinez each scored four points as they held on to win 50-43.
“I trusted Kaitlyn (Holl),” Sanchez said, “She is good enough to play with four fouls. She did a great job.”
Once more, Roswell and Goddard will hook up for the fourth time this year. Goddard defeated Roswell on Dec. 30, 55-44, at the Goddard Tournament in the third-place game. The last two games have seen the Lady Coyotes win on last-second shots. On Jan. 26, Roswell won 33-32. On Feb. 9, Roswell won 31-30 as time expired on a shot by Martinez.
“It’s going to be another tough game,” Sanchez said. This will be the fourth time we meet; they know us, and we know them. It’s going to be a battle.”
Kaitlyn Holl had 12 points, Alexandra Gonzalez added 10 points, Cheyenne Martinez chipped in with nine points. Anica Dillard put in six points; Valeria Ibarra scored five points and senior Nayelli Morales kicked in four points.
Roswell will play at 6 p.m. at Ground Zero Thursday. The winner will play Artesia in the championship game Saturday.
Lovington 66, Goddard 41
The Goddard Rockets came into Tuesday’s district playoff game against Lovington looking to avenge a 60-59 last-second defeat to the Wildcats on Feb. 13. After a closely contested first quarter, Lovington would make sure the Rockets wouldn’t have a chance to repay their heroics from their last meeting, handing Goddard a 66-41 loss.
The Rockets would start the game with some shaky defense, committing two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. Goddard senior Dalin Stanford would get the offense going early to keep them close to Lovington. He had nine points in a first quarter that would see the Wildcats hold a six-point lead heading into the second as the score stood at 19-13.
The second quarter was made up of missed shots and stolen passes until 5:50 was left on the clock when Lovington senior Isaiah Brown was sent to the foul line. He went one for two and was fouled 13 seconds later. This time he sank both free throws to put Lovington up 22-13. Goddard couldn’t get much going offensively and managed only five points in the quarter. Sophomore Xavier Garcia would make the Rocket’s only three pointer of the night, with the team going 1-16 from beyond the arch. Lovington ended the first half with a 10-point lead, 28-18.
The third quarter would show the Rocket’s resilience with the team putting up 17 points. Lovington would counter with 20 points of their own as they started to pull further away from their opponent. Goddard had a tough night shooting from the field, going 15-50. They would end the fourth quarter with an additional eight points. Lovington went on to seal the 66-41 victory.
Dalin Stanford was Goddard’s high scorer with 15 points, and second was Jonah Chavez with 12.
Goddard is now eliminated from the district tournament and will wait to see if they are one of the 16 teams to make the state tournament.
Dexter 53, Loving 44
The Dexter Lady Demons received great support from their three seniors Tuesday night as they defeated Loving at home, 53-44.
Madison Bogle was the team’s leading scorer with 23 points and received help from Vianey Villalobos and Marlou Blankvoort as they each added 10 points.
The Lady Demons will face Tularosa 6 p.m. Thursday at Tularosa with the winner playing Eunice Saturday for the championship.