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Eaker lifts Roswell to Elite Eight

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Roswell High School senior Logan Eaker takes a short shot in the paint. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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Roswell’s big man Logan “Eraser” Eaker played like he was playing for another trip to the Elite Eight. It seemed like the game rested on the senior to dominate in a way that he hasn’t all season. If he is saving his best for last, this was a nice start.

Eaker dominated from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. Del Norte had plenty of game and fight in them but the answer they didn’t have and needed was for a focused, dominating 6-foot-7 big man who patrolled the lane on both ends of the floor. Eaker made sure that if Roswell’s season was going to end, it was going to end with the game and ball going through him.

“We knew we had a size advantage,” coach Moses ‘Dude’ Burrola said. “We knew they weren’t very big in the post. We had to get him the ball. We had our press going early. We hit some shots, and at halftime, we told them we had to get it inside.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. This game was nothing like the 77-46 laugher in the 2017 state semifinal. No, this game was a fight all the way until the last four minutes of the game. Once again, the Coyotes had to withstand going scoreless for three minutes in the fourth quarter, and they needed an eraser in Logan “Eraser” Eaker to survive a determined Del Norte Knights team, 58-45 at the Coyote Den Saturday to earn another trip to the Pit.

“We went in at halftime,” Eaker said. “The whole goal at halftime, coach B (Burrola) told us to look inside a little bit more. We were turning the ball over a little bit too much. This is a great feeling to make it to the elite eight four years in a row. I made it as a freshman through my senior year. All glory to God on that.”

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Roswell (20-8) played with effort, hustle, and fight. At one point in the second quarter, Tarren Burrola of Roswell dove for a loose ball and tussled with the Knights Daniel Flores, as the referees had to separate the two players and call a 30-second timeout. The timeout as the action was about to reach a boiling point. That play seemed to ignite the Coyotes as they went on a 6-0 run as Burrola hit a three-pointer right before halftime to give the Coyotes a 24-19 lead.

The story on the game was the man in the middle as Del Norte had no answers for the 6-foot-7 Eaker. Eaker scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. The team would play through his as the set screen and rotated the ball to him on both sides of the lane and allowed him to go to work. Eaker’s play keyed a big 15-9 run as Roswell turned a close game into a 37-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“There size was a huge difference,” Knights coach Jeron McIntosh said. “He (Eaker) just went over the top of us. He got a couple of loose balls where he went over the top, and we couldn’t put them away. He (Eaker) hurt us a lot tonight.”

When he wasn’t scoring on the offensive end of the floor, he kept the ball alive with rebounds and passed it out to teammates for open looks. On the defensive end of the floor, Eaker blocked eight shots and altered another 10 to control the game for the Coyotes.

“We lost the game because of some turnover,” McIntosh said. “We just couldn’t make shots, and to start the third quarter they went on a big run. I think that was the biggest thing when they made that run, we got a little deflated, and we couldn’t get our juice back. I think our kids got tired at the end.”

Roswell had Taymon Burrola running the point; he was able to get the ball to the right player for easy baskets or create fouls from the Knights. Jasia Reese brought energy as he jumped passing lanes and cruised to the rim for layups as the Knights could not counter anything the Coyotes did until late in the game when they hit a Flores hit two three-pointers in a row to bring Del Norte to within six-points as they trailed, 46-40 with 3:15 to play.

“We kept our composure better tonight,” coach Burrola said, “than we have done in the past when they made their run. Taymon Burrola made some great plays down the stretch handling the ball. He got some big fouls where he (Taymon) had Del Norte run over him. That was big for us to be able to hang on the way we did.”

Eaker came back and scored two baskets in a row, and Tarren Burrola scored five points as the Coyotes closed out the Knights to end their season.

“It’s what we do,” coach Burrola said. “Whether it’s coach (Britt) Cooper here or myself, we believe that’s what we’re supposed to do. Some people want to be in the state tournament, and they don’t care where they are going to be, but we expect to win it. That’s our expectations. They’re high. Our goal is to win it.”

Eaker had 18 points. Tarren Burrola scored 15 points, Isaiah Carmona chipped in with nine, and Taymon Burrola added eight points.

Roswell will play Belen at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at the DreamStyle Arena (The Pit).

Goddard boys

Los Lunas 64, Goddard 48

If floor general Jonah Chavez didn’t get hurt, no one knows what might have happened. The Rockets were in the game trailing at halftime, 31-25 against the No. 2 seed of the tournament. Goddard had their chances and closed the score to, 36-30 in the third quarter. Goddard had a shot go in and out, that could have made the score 36-33. After the miss, Los Lunas started to press and without Chavez, it hurt the Rockets. Los Lunas extended their lead would dribble drive and score to widen the lead and close the game out.

“Those boys played hard,” Mestas said. “We appreciate all their hard work and dedication to each other and their school. They fought to the very end. I wish we could have won for the seniors. I’m so thankful that they stuck around for four years and gave me and the other coaches and their school everything they had each season for four years.”

Dexter boys

Dexter 80, Santa Fe Prep 45

Dexter (19-9) came out against unseen opponent Santa Fe Prep, and proceed to unleash scoring play after scoring play, as they advanced to the Elite Eight, defeating Santa Fe Prep 80-45.

“I’m excited for the boys,” First-year Dexter coach Arthur Cobos said. “I’m so happy for our seniors to be able to finish at home in front of our awesome family.

Dexter will face Texico at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Santa Ana Star Center.

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