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Rockets fizzle out against Taos again

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The Goddard Rockets lost to the Taos Tigers, 53-43, Thursday at the Ruidoso Mountain Madness Shootout. (Steve Notz File Photo)

RUIDOSO – In their rematch against the Taos Tigers, the Goddard Rockets just couldn’t find the formula to beat Taos in the round robin Ruidoso Mountain Madness Shootout Thursday night. The Rockets, (7-7) for the second time this season, lost to the Tigers (9-4) this time, 53-43. A little over a month ago, The Rockets lost to Taos at their tournament, 58-34.

However, the Rockets kept the Tigers at bay throughout the game. They led after the first quarter when Gabriel Campos banged home a three-pointer at the buzzer and a 16-13 lead heading into the second period.

But the Tigers got the lead back, scoring the first five points of the quarter and went up, 18-16. Taos, however, shot dead cold after that, going 0-6, and the Rockets fought back. They managed to outscore Taos six to two and took a 24-20 lead at halftime.

The difference in this game came down to free throws — Goddard couldn’t buy a free throw. “When you go 1 for 10 from the free throw line, you won’t win many ball games like (that),”  Rockets head coach Anthony Mestas said.

Turnovers was another factor in the Goddard loss and they made some untimely ones in the fourth period. At the 2:29 mark, the Rockets were within a bucket, 43-41. On a steal, Goddard looked to tie the game but the ball bounced off the leg of a Rockets player. The Tigers converted the miscue on their end with a three-pointer and a 46-41 lead. The Tigers then went on a seven to two run and that basically was the game.

Goddard finished with two players in double digits; Jon Carrillo ripped the cords with 16 points and Brandon Montanez had 12.

Derek Carrica was on pace to putting up double-digit points, too, however, in the third quarter as he was going up for a rebound, a Taos player upended him, and you could hear a loud thump as his head hit the hardwood.

“He wasn’t the same after that — we took him out of the game,” said Mestas. Carrica, however, did re-enter the game. “He got cold and then got blood on his shorts and we took him out again.” Mestas added.

Carrica was done for the night. “When something like that happens, we have to have someone step (in) and help us win,” Mestas pointed out.

Carrica is expected back tonight when the Rockets face Moriarty at 5:30 p.m. The other 4A teams in the round robin format feature host Ruidoso, Silver City, Moriarty and Pojoaque.

Mestas is pleased with the format. “Without a doubt, it gives a chance to be successful — it really does,” he pointed out.

Ruidoso Warriors coach Billy Page who put on the shootout was not interested in a tournament format. “It’s kind of a new format for the past few years; a lot of teams have been going to that. They like what time they are going to play, and who they are going to play, and they can adjust their schedule to hang out, especially here in Ruidoso where there are things to do,” Page said.

And with the recent heavy snowfall in Ruidoso, snowball fights and the building of snowmen are a possibility.

The Rockets will travel back to Roswell for the 114-mile round trip today and the event ends on Saturday. “We got Moriarty today and Pojoaque on Saturday — we’re hoping to win both of those games,” said Mestas.