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Roswell wins Poe Corn Tournament

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Roswell boys basketball coach Moses “Dude” Burrola might be affable off the court, but when it comes to his on-the-court persona — let’s just say he growls as he stands in front of the bench, or he will go down to the end of the bench and pace the sideline like a caged tiger once the game begins. The growl is not a Tony the Tiger growl, where he says, “We’re great.” This is especially true when his team is not putting up any points. Make no bones about it, Roswell was tested and in real trouble in the first quarter as they trailed 15-8 to Gallup. He called timeout and yelled at his team and said, “You’ve got two minutes to get something or you’re all coming out.”

“Look at the scoreboard,” “Dude” said, “we only have eight points.”

The tongue-lashing was all the Coyotes needed to get their running game going as junior guard Dominic Nava was filling the lanes and hit a three-pointer to get his team going. Nava scored seven points in the second quarter, which fired up Nate Dutchover who scored seven points. Point guard Taymon Burrola scored eight points in the second quarter as Roswell took the game over and cruised to an 88-59 win. The win captured their 12th consecutive Poe Corn Invitational Basketball Tournament at Ground Zero Saturday.

“We were competitive,” Gallup coach Joshua Dunlap said. “As the game went on, they’re so deep and fast — we got off the structure and then got into trouble. When they get on a 2-0 run and the next thing you know it turns into a 12-0 run. That’s a heck of a team over there. We lost one of our starters and we’re not that deep. Those guys are awesome and I believe they’re going to be contenders for a state title.”

It seems Roswell wants to put up 100 points on every team they play. Why not? They put up 97 on Artesia on Friday in a 97-64 rout at the Coyote Den. This team is being compared to the high school Golden State Warriors where they have depth, quickness and they create more opportunities for themselves because they force other teams to play at their pace. Roswell has a number of players that can create their own shot and take players off the dribble, and they can penetrate and kick it out to a player at the three-point line for that back-breaking three.

This team, as they move into district play, has a chance because of their depth — coach Burrola can go 10 players deep. Coach Burrola is getting his team ready for district play when the competition will be steeper and they will not be able to get off to slow starts as they did Saturday.

“When we are playing in 5A,” coach Burrola said, “we can’t afford to get off to a slow start. It’s hard to play three days in a row. I’m glad my team decided to get it together in the second quarter. They came out strong in the fourth quarter, we just can’t have any letdowns in the beginning. Sometimes it’s not how you start but how you finish.”

In the upcoming games, coach Burrola would like to see how his team responds. He has a track record of his team playing well against Cleveland, the No.1 team in 5A at the time. He will be anxious to make sure his team competes at the highest level it takes to win in 5A. He will have a good opportunity when his team plays back to back games against Onate and Las Cruces.

“I have faith in all 14 of my players,” Burrola said. “Those sophomores are probably the best group of freshmen we have had in a long time. “I’m not afraid to put them in if we need them. With us, a lot of teams will have to pick their poison when we are on our game.”

Roswell will play Onate on 7 p.m. Friday, at Onate.

Goddard boys 

The Goddard boys and girls varsity basketball teams wrapped up tournament action at their respective tournaments on Saturday at Ground Zero. Both teams came away with third place trophies. The Rockets beat district rival Artesia 58-51 in the third-place game of the Poe Corn tournament that the Sunrise Rotary sponsors every year. The Goddard girls whopped El Paso Burgess, 68-48, in the GHS Holiday Classic.

In the boys game, the Rockets led from the onset. The closest the Bulldogs ever came was an 11-11 tie at the 1:24 mark of the first period.

The Rockets (8-6) went on a six-nothing roll and the Bulldogs (5-5) were put on the leash the rest of the way. The leading scorer for the Rockets was Taylor Ramage with 25 points, Derrick Carrica recorded 12 points and Jonah Chaves pumped in 9. “We really needed this win. It gives us much-needed confidence as we head into the second half of the season,” said Rockets head coach Anthony Mestas.

Artesia struggled the entire time. This game really was won by Goddard in the first quarter. Artesia misfired on its first five shots of the game. Then after their first bucket, they went 0-7. Their miseries continued into the second quarter, while the Rockets recorded assist after assist. “We really played good team ball against them (Artesia). I was really proud of the way we played,” Mestas pointed out.

It didn’t help matters that the Roswell Coyotes put the wood to Artesia the night before, 97-64. The Bulldogs seemed hungover from that game. The Rockets didn’t seem to care. They were coming off a bitter taste in their mouth from a loss to Gallup also the night before, 74-59, and there was no way that Artesia was coming into Ground zero and winning.

“With them being our district rivals we were not going to allow them to gain an edge on us before district play,” Mestas said.

In the second period, Goddard began to use its muscle inside with Carrica. Ramage, Chavez and a host of other Rockets looked for the Big Fella underneath and he did not disappoint. Carrica also looked for his three-point shooters and they rung up four three-bombs. Artesia couldn’t contain Goddard, and by halftime their bark was more like a whimper, trailing 28-18. They were done.

Next up for the Rockets is Taos in the opening game of the Mountain Madness Tournament in Ruidoso on Jan. 3.

Goddard girls 

The late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin had a 1967 hit record entitled “Respect”. In the lyrics, she sang “All I’m asking for is a little respect, just a little respect … El Paso Burgess (18-4) apparently didn’t show any respect to the Goddard Lady Rockets (8-4) in the GHS Holiday Classic at Ground Zero. The team never warmed up prior to the game, arriving moments before the tip-off of the third-place game.

They should have listened to the song, ‘cause in it Aretha don’t play and neither did the Lady Rockets as they spanked Burgess 68-48.

“I guess they thought they were going to come off the bus and walk away with a win,” said Lady Rockets head coach Jared Neighbors. Goddard jumped out to a 16-9 lead on Burgess. The Lady Mustangs, who live and die by the three-point shot, missed horribly throughout the game and their three-point shooting was colder than it was outside the gym.

Goddard, on the other hand, was taking care of business. While Burgess was talking to the officials, Goddard was converting on the technicals called against Burgess, six in all. “If that’s what they wanted to do, we kept composed and didn’t let any of that affect us,” Neighbors pointed out.

Goddard dominated this game by spreading the wealth around. Four players scored in double figures. Bailey Beene led Goddard with 23 points, Alex Sandoval poured in 15, Lacie Schooley had 13, and PJ Villareal finished with 12. Though Burgess was not giving Goddard any respect, the Lady Rockets were earning it. By the end of the first half, Goddard led 28-18. Burgess could not buy a bucket, their three-pointers clanked off the iron and they served up their share of air balls, and at one point shot 0-14.

Frustration began to set in, as Burgess — which is one the best girls basketball teams in the city of El Paso — looked out of sync and just scored seven points in the third period. Goddard, on the other hand, was playing lights-out. Case in point, in the fourth quarter Beene was running a fast break when she found Schooley streaking to the goal, and rifled a behind-the-back pass to Schooley for the easy lay-in that brought Goddard Nation to its feet.

Goddard’s next game is at Clovis on Jan. 5.