Goddard girls basketball coach Jared Neighbors is not at the point of reloading, but don’t tell him that. Each year he has a new team and together they go on a journey of getting better. Coach Neighbors doesn’t want his basketball team playing their best basketball at the early-season tournaments.
Neighbors would like to be undefeated, as any coach would. But being 4-3 after a solid 57-19 win over the visiting Gadsden Panthers, Tuesday night at Ground Zero, shows what Neighbors is looking for is to play the toughest competition his team can find early in the season, to get ready for district play.
“At this point of the season,” Neighbors said, “I’m looking for us to gain experience and come together with each game. In our first five games of the season, we have been competitive in all of them and I like that. I like to see where we are at in close games.”
In order to do that, the Lady Rockets took to the road and competed in their second tournament of the season. Last week they played in the Al Armendariz Tournament, in which they did well. Last week they played in the City of Champions Tournament, where they played the likes of Seminole, Silver — and they ended up bouncing back with a 50-23 win over Ruidoso.
Goddard has received a balanced effort in their scoring. Neighbors mentioned the efforts of Lana Morley, along with Abbie Garcia and Lacie Schooley as key defenders that allow them to extend their defense.
Neighbors is also delighted that senior Bailey Beene is back and is facilitating the offense and hitting her jumper from the outside — and putting the ball on the floor and going to the basket when need be. The thing that is exciting to Neighbors is the unselfishness of Beene as she looks to distribute the basketball to her teammates and get them involved on the offensive end of the floor.
“This is the most balanced group I’ve had,” Neighbors said. “I like our team, Beene is providing leadership along with PJ Villarreal. Villarreal is hitting the three-point shot, Morley is getting boards and Salinas is doing a good job on the defensive end of the floor and providing leadership as well. Good balanced effort, good team effort.”
The Lady Rockets are starting to jell together and with the offensive firepower they have, it is going to make it harder for a team to key on Beene or any to the other players with hot hands. Goddard wants to use their defense to start their offense, and on the defensive end of the floor to help key their press and traps. Tonya Ueland and Abbie Garcia are being used to extend Goddard’s defense and add depth.
“I’m playing a lot more kids than I’ve played before,” Neighbors said. “In close games, I’m playing between eight or nine players. I’m playing more kids than I have in the past years.”
Goddard will face Sundown at 4 p.m., at Sundown, Texas, on Dec. 17.
Lovington 66, Roswell 33
Roswell will have to do better than this, whether they play on the road or at home. The Lady Coyotes were stymied by the press of Lovington and only managed to score two points in the second quarter. Lovington got hot and broke the press of Roswell and hit three after three and was able to get into the lane.
Roswell did show up in the fourth quarter as they scored 13 points to make a run at Lovington, but it was not enough. The good news is that it is only the fourth game of the season. No one will remember this game if they are playing their best basketball at the end of the year.
Roswell has to regroup fast because they travel to Los Alamos for a 7 p.m. tip on Friday.