Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
On Thursday, the Roswell Daily Record announced its inaugural Roswell Daily Record All-Chaves County basketball teams. Today, we follow suit with the announcement of the girls’ teams.
Just like the boys’ teams, the girls had an equally fine season as well. The defending state champions Goddard Lady Rockets from District 4-5A. Goddard replaced four key players off the team and made the tournament. The Lady Rockets hosted a playoff game before losing to Miyamura, 38-26 to end their season. Goddard received key contributions from Eden Wiggins, Camarynn Villalpando and Bailey Beene to form the big three.
The Lady Rockets (17-13, 3-3 District 4-5A) defeated regular-season district champion Artesia twice during the regular season, before losing 50-47 in Hagerman to decide the regular-season champion as all the teams ended the season 3-3 in district play. The Lady Rockets exacted revenge when they defeated the Lady Dogs, 45-41 at Artesia to win the district tournament championship.
Roswell’s second-year coach Fernando Sanchez found out how tough life could be without the New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year, Jaedyn De La Cerda. De La Cerda is playing for the University of New Mexico this season.
Sanchez stayed patient and showed faith in his young team, even when they lost games they should have won. The team seemed to come together and rally when they defeated rival Goddard, 33-32. Roswell’s Cheyenne Martinez made a last-second basket at the Coyote Den as time expired to give the Coyotes the win. The teams split the four games they played this season.
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Roswell found the right combination and ended the regular season at 3-3, to end up as the No. 4 seed in the district tournament. Roswell faced Goddard in the district semifinal game at Goddard and went cold from the field. Roswell was spent, as Goddard’s defense was sweltering as they held the Lady Coyotes scoreless for the last four minutes of the game to lose, 33-28.
As with the boys’ team, the girls’ team includes a starting five and a sixth lady (player).
For the Lady Rockets, we have Camarynn Villapando, Bailey Beene and Eden Wiggins who helped guide Goddard.
Villalpando, Wiggins and Beene may sound like the name of a law firm, but these high school teammates dealt opponents their own sense of justice on the court.
Head coach Jared Neighbors offered praise for all three of his Lady Rockets.
“Camarynn (Villalpando) scored nearly 1,000 points in her career,” Neighbors said. During her tenure at Goddard, she had nearly 800 rebounds. Neighbors added that she dominated both scoring and the boards. Villalpando led the Lady Rockets in most of the offensive categories this past season.
This past season, Villalpando increased her scoring — she averaged 14.9 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game, more than last season’s 8.3 points per game and eight rebounds per game. Last season Villalpando made second team All-State. With the numbers she put up this season, she may well be a first-team selection this season.
One of the bright spots for coach Neighbors is that even though he loses Wiggins and Villalpando, he will bring back Bailey Beene. Beene worked on her game to average 11.7 points a game, while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out 2.6 assists. There were times in a game when she would grab a rebound and drive the length of the court, dribble behind her back, do a euro step and score. Beene rounded out her game by becoming a capable three-point shooter. She has been in the program since her freshman year.
“She’s just a great kid who will play in every spot that she needs to,” Neighbors said. “At the end, I put her in the post. She’s that versatile.”
Wiggins was a key cog in the big three this season. She gained confidence and wasn’t afraid to take a shot and knock down a three-pointer with the game in the balance. After a season spent guarding Katherine and Micaela Kolker in practice, the hard work paid off for her on the defensive end of the floor, which added to her abilities on offense. Through hard work in the offseason, Wiggins went from averaging 1.8 points per game to 9.5 points a game. She grabbed 2.5 rebounds a game and averaged 2.3 steals.
“His charges were called the “Big Three” because of the numbers they produced,” Neighbors said. “Even though those three were the ones that were seen, just the whole team this year I was really proud of. I want people to look at Villalpando, Beene and Wiggins and see how things can change from year-to-year. The three of them had a willingness to get the job done for Goddard this past season.”
Roswell’s senior guard Anica Dillard overcame trouble breaking the press and handling the press. By the end of the season, she was not afraid to take a three-point shot or turn the corner and drive baseline while attacking the basket.
“Anica was our most consistent player game in and game out,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said. “She handled the pressure of being our point guard all year. She was the soundest defensive player for us this year. She was the best true point guard, in my opinion, throughout our district.”
Cheyenne “Ice” Martinez ran the length of the court against Goddard at the Coyote Den as time was running out. Martinez caught the ball shielding the Lady Rocket defender from intercepting the ball with 2 seconds left. Martinez took one step and laid the ball up off the glass going through the net with 0.8 seconds left to play to give Roswell the victory.
“Cheyenne really became Mrs. Clutch for us,” coach Sanchez said. “She’s a great shooter and really started to develop into a scorer and rebounder as the year progressed. She hit two huge shots for wins this year against Lovington and Goddard. She averaged nine points per game while grabbing six rebounds.”
Kaitlyn Holl was Roswell’s do it all player as soon as volleyball ended. It took her a little time to get into basketball condition, but when she did, she led the Lady Coyotes back to the playoffs. Holl averaged 15 points a game to go along with eight rebounds. Holl will continue her basketball career at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M University.
“Kaitlyn had an outstanding career,” coach Sanchez said. “This year, she led us in scoring, rebounding, steals and tips. She’s an all-around beast that is going to make huge strides in the next four years of playing college ball. She’ll be able to devote so much time to basketball. She is a great teammate, an outstanding student-athlete and one of the most athletic kids at Roswell.”