The Roswell High girls basketball program has never been how it starts a season, rather on how it finishes one. In past seasons, the Lady Coyotes have been 10-0, 9-1, 8-2 in the first 10 games to begin the year.
Tuesday night, Roswell fell to 2-5 with a 61-48 loss to the Alamogordo Lady Tigers at the Den. Jalen Baca scored 9 points, Cheyenne Martinez poured in 13 points and Makenzie Tarin burned the chords for 15.
Tuesday nights’ game was a gritty performance by Roswell girls, who are still trying find their identity as a team. The Lady Coyotes made Alamogordo (7-1) earn every basket they got. Early in the first half, the Lady Tigers were, for the most part, not allowed in the paint.
Instead, they camped out in the left wing of the court throwing three-pointers after three-pointers. “They wanted to play their game at the perimeter we let them,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said.
Alamogordo began the game with a three-pointer. However, Roswell used its tenacity to stay close as they outhustled the Lady Tigers. “We went after every ball; some we got, others Alamo was going to fight us for it,” Sanchez said.
Tarin was the enforcer for Roswell in the game — Dirty Harry would have been proud. She rebounded, led on outlet passes and for the most part, kept the team in the game.
Then the lefty Martinez was willing to trade elbows and headlock somebody — it was no holds barred at the Den — this game was turning into a slobber knocker.
Things got testy midway through the second quarter. Alamogordo could not shake the pesky Coyotes. At the end of the first quarter, Alamogordo led, 16-14.
The Lady Tigers began the second period shooting one for six and Roswell finally made them pay for it when a three-bomb by Martinez gave RHS a 21-18 lead. At that point, it seemed like the Alamogordo coaches were ready to call in an air strike from Holloman Air Force Base to stop the bleeding.
Alamogordo, though regained its composure and went on an 8-0 run to go up 26-21 at the 4:32 mark of the second period.
The game of basketball, as it usually does, is played in spurts, and Roswell High did just that. Tarin kissed a baby jumper off the window, followed by a Tigers turnover, which led to another Roswell bucket and just like that Roswell had a 30-21 lead.
But then it was the Lady Tigers’ turn. After a quick time out, Faith Silva began her barrage of three-pointers — she hit back-to-back threes and Alamogordo trailed, 30-27.
By halftime though, Roswell held on to the lead, 32-31.
As the third quarter began, Alamogordo used its backcourt pressure to force the Lady Coyotes into turnovers. More importantly, Alamogordo converted those turnovers into points. “They began to wear us down,” Sanchez pointed out.
At one point in the third quarter, Alamogordo went up by seven points — their largest lead of the game. But Roswell refused to quit as Tarin and Martinez led the team back. Martinez nailed a three on a rope and Tarin muscled her way into the paint and was fouled. The bucket was good and she converted the free throw.
In the fourth quarter, Alamogordo ran and spread the floor and their three-point bombs began to fall. “Our girls never quit, they hung in there,” Sanchez said proudly.
These scrappy 2018-19 Lady Coyotes will continue to be just that. The first half of the season is just a precursor as to where they expect to find themselves at the end of the year, fighting for another state title at the Pit.
Up next for Roswell High: The crosstown rival Goddard Lady Rockets, 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Den.