Home Sports Local Sports DISTRICT TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS; Lady Rockets launch past Artesia for title

DISTRICT TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS; Lady Rockets launch past Artesia for title

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(Steve Notz Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

ARTESIA — After having an active week, the Goddard Lady Rockets can breathe for the next few days.

Senior Camrynn Villalpando had 24 points as the Lady Rockets (17-12) defeated the Artesia Lady Dogs (15-13) 45-41 to claim the District 4-5A postseason tournament title.

Jared Neighbors and his crew have had a busy week. Monday night they played Artesia in Hagerman for a playoff to determine the top team in the district tournament. The Lady Dogs won and had the week off to get ready for Friday night’s title game at the Bulldog Pit.

Goddard defeated the Roswell Lady Coyotes Thursday night at Ground Zero in the semifinal contest.

“Artesia came out on fire and taken advantage of some rest that they had and really exposed us kind of coming out flat and tired from last (Thursday) night,” Neighbors said.

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“We fought back and played hard and was really proud of them,” he added.

Artesia had the upper-hand in the first half with leads of 16-10 at the end of the first quarter and 28-20 at the end of the second period.

Artesia was able to keep Villalpando in check in the first half as she had 6 points.

In the second half, she exploded and allowed the Lady Rockets to overcome the first half deficit.

Goddard led 36-33 at the end of the third quarter and then outscored Artesia 9-8 in the final period to seal the victory.

“I think we had 20 turnovers at halftime,” Neighbors said. “Which is way too much, and we just said ‘guys we’re down by eight with 20 turnovers,’ so we just said, ‘man protect the ball and get shots up and keep attacking.’ We were in a little bit of foul trouble so I thought we were smart with no one to pull up and no one to drive, I thought that was good execution.”

“Good game, back-and-forth, if I was a fan sitting in the stands I would have thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Jeff Houghtaling, Artesia’s head coach.

“It was worth the price of admission no doubt,” he added.

“Both teams played really hard and competed and had some momentum swings back-and-forth, it was up-and-down,” he said.

Pairings for the state tournament will be announced later this weekend. Where does Houghtaling see Artesia?

“It’s hard to say, I wish I could give you an answer,” he said. “I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that seeding room, honestly I don’t know.”

Houghtaling said by winning the regular season title the Lady Dogs are in, “I’d like to think we’re gonna get a home game.”

“Our district is very competitive and teams around the state know that the last two state champs are from this district,” he added.

Neighbors was asked the same thing.

“I think us and Artesia are both going to host,” he said. “Our district is one of the toughest and we don’t get a lot of credit, people up north don’t see us. I think Lovington and Roswell will give some people fits.”