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Coyotes to face familiar opponent

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The No. 6 Seed Coyotes are hoping this game will be as easy as the last whipping they put on Del Norte, 77-46 in the semifinal game in the state tournament last year. The Coyotes couldn’t ask for an easier opening game than against a team they destroyed last year.

It has to have a ripple effect on their psyche knowing they have to travel and face 6-foot-7 Logan “Eraser” Eaker. Eaker will be out to make sure he ends his career at state holding up the hardware he earned last year.

“We beat them last year,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We beat them at the Pit in the semifinal game, so they have some experience.”

With more firepower than last year’s team, look for coach Burrola to push all of his chips into the middle of the table and to find out where his team stacks up against the best in 5A basketball. All the lessons learned are growing experiences up to this point.

In order for that to happen, these are the things that have to happen immediately: They have to play as a team and play inside out. Everything on both ends of the floor has to go through Eaker. When he gets tired, they have to get quality minutes from Victor Bollanos and Miguel Baray to hold things down until Eaker gets back in the game.

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The Coyotes are young but talented; they have to play fundamental basketball. That means doing the simple easy things and executing at all times. They cannot afford to have lapses in concentration like they have at times this season. Now is money time.

They have to bury opponents when they get a big lead, they cannot get lackadaisical with their passing or defense. Roswell has had trouble with the press this season, at this point they should be on autopilot. Roswell has to hit their free throws to win, and finally, they have to play as a team and not worry about stats but play as one.

There are some unsung heroes that have to come up big when called upon during these tournament games, and that would-be Dylan Tucker, Jasia Reese and Patrick Brown; these guys are so athletically good it is scary. They have to continue to play defense and contest passes and shots at the rim to keep the pressure off Eaker to keep him out of foul trouble. Reese is a blur in the open court and fearless going to the rim. He cannot get into foul trouble gambling on steals or picking up charges. Roswell is a different team when he is off the floor.

Look for Taymon Burrola to start at point guard, and his brother Tarren Burrola at the wing, both players can get their shots even with players draped over them. Tarren may have the quickest release from the three-point line.

Look for steady Isaiah Carmona and Dominic Nava to play defense and to push the pace when the opportunity presents itself. Both players are not afraid to turn the corner and drive baseline or to put up a jumper in the lane.

The Coyotes have lost two out of their last three games that came down to the final seconds against Artesia and Lovington and finished the season, 3-3 in their last six games.

Del Norte started the season 2-9 and have gone 9-6 the rest of the way. They come in as the No. 11 seed. The Knights come into the game with experience from last year’s semifinals at state. They’re a quick team, and they have a guard who is a really good player. They’re small but like to get up and down the floor. This plays perfectly to the strength of the Coyotes whose press should end up doing damage and force turnovers.

“Hopefully, we can get the ball inside,” coach Burrola said. “We are going to have to play well to win. Hopefully, we can get the crowd into the game, and they help us move on to Albuquerque on Wednesday.”

For the Coyotes, the real season starts now, with a game in front of their fans and a chance to continue their pursuit of the Blue Trophy. In your first-year coach Burrola, this is exactly where you want your team to be with a one and 16 chance to win it all. And it all starts today at home.

Roswell plays Del Norte at 6 p.m. today at the Coyote Den.

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