Nothing like going into a bye with a victory. For the first time in his coaching career at Goddard, head coach Anthony Mestas is 3-1 and has his team feeling good about playing basketball and expecting to win.
Right now the Rockets are jelling and playing as one. When the guards need help, the big men and inside game are picking up the slack. Look at senior center Derek Carrica — Carrica scored 26 points against Alamogordo with an array of moves in the paint.
Caricca wasn’t alone in his assault on the basket, which opened up the outside shot for Jonah “The Little General” Chavez, who hit from outside for 18 points. His backcourt running mate Jon Carrillo added 11 points as they defeated Alamogordo 65-52 at Ground Zero Tuesday night. This win avenges the last two losses to the Tigers’.
Goddard opened the season beating Wingate, 48-46. Goddard had to change the way they play as Wingate slowed it down. The Rockets got into foul trouble, but the difference in the game was that unlike last season when Goddard could not make a free throw with the game on the line, they are making them now.
“I told the team the difference,” Mestas said, “between this year and last year is experience and playing basketball. Last year we couldn’t make free throws, this season we have guys stepping to the line and knocking them down. Jon Carrillo has gone 11 of 12.”
Mestas attributes that to experience. With 4.9 seconds left in the game Mestas called timeout and drew up a play, both the first and second option were covered, the ball found its way into Xavier Garcia’s hands and he made a move and shot a jumper at the foul line — as it hit nothing but net the clock expired. In the Wingate game Brandon Montanez had a big game for the Rockets.
When Goddard faced Ruidoso, their bigs in Hunter Beene and Carrica were too much for Ruidoso. That game turned into a rout as the Rockets won going away, 51-35.
Against Taos, coach Mestas felt like his team was tired and didn’t think that game was a reflection of who they are. He is eyeing a return matchup against them on Jan. 3 at a neutral site.
“Winning close the games,” Mestas said. “Games we couldn’t win last season. This group of kids like each other and like being around each other. It is enjoyable. They like each other and challenge each other, No one cares about points, they care about each other and want to win. That’s a good feeling. This year the team is playing together.”
Mestas feels like playing football has helped Chavez with his basketball game. He thinks the team overall has high expectations and wants to play defense and has a toughness about them that they might not have had in the past.
“I like my team,” Mestas said. It is enjoyable to coach them.”
The Rockets’ next game will be played in the Albuquerque Academy Tournament at 4:45 p.m.on Dec. 13.