Maybe it was the emotions of being recognized in front of their fellow students and thanking their parents. On Saturday, four senior Goddard Rockets basketball players: Jonah Chavez, Josh Dominguez, Jon Carrillo and Derek Carrica were honored for their contributions to the basketball team.
With the emotion of acknowledging that heavy feeling hanging over the seniors and the basketball team like a Pigpen cloud in a Charlie Brown cartoon, the game was supposed to be easy and Goddard played great defense, but on offense, they had trouble putting the ball in the basket in the first quarter.
The Rockets missed a lot of layups and jumpers and were up 4-2 with a minute to go in the first quarter. Both teams were foul happy and it turned into a free throw shooting contest early in the game.
It could have been that Goddard was out of synch on offense because they were playing without shooting guard Brandon Montanez who broke his thumb in the Roswell game on Tuesday and was held out of the Chaparral game as a precaution. He should be able to return next week.
The Rockets, (10-8), looked like a different team on Saturday than the one that hung tough against Roswell on Tuesday. Goddard played uninspired basketball, but it was enough to defeat non-conference foe the Chaparral Lobos, 47-29 non-conference at Ground Zero.
“We did not look like the same team we looked like on Tuesday,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said. “Two completely different teams. I don’t know if the boys weren’t mentally prepared because we were playing Chaparral, but if we come like that against Clovis, it is going to be a long night.”
Goddard’s cerebral big man Derek Carrica, who at 6-foot-5, was effective enough inside the paint to score 10 points and to win his battle with Lobos’ big man Brandon Sanchez.
Sanchez is 6-foot-7 and doesn’t have an array of offensive moves, nor did he play with the savviness of Carrica, yet he altered Goddard’s shots inside the paint and blocked three of their shots before he gave way to tiredness and foul trouble.
“We’ll throw this one (game) away,” Goddard center Derek Carrica emphasized.
Mestas referred to the grisly two-for-five shooting in the first half and five-for-30 overall from three-point land. In the game, the Rockets would go two-for-15 on three-pointers and seven-for-35 on two-point attempts.
“It wasn’t a pretty win,” Mestas said, “but we’ll take it. I think us not having Brandon (Montanez) out there hurt us.”
However, the Lobos didn’t shoot much better either in this game. Both teams virtually ignored going to their big men inside, to Goddard’s Carrica and Brandon Sanchez of the Lobos.
The Rockets managed enough perimeter shooting to outdistance the Lobos. Goddard got out to a 7-4 first-quarter lead.
“Even though we didn’t shoot well in this game, our defense kept them (the Lobos) from overtaking us. We hustled for loose balls, we got steals and shut them down. This is not a game we played well in,” Chavez said.
However, the Rockets were not able to put away the Lobos until the third period when they went on a six-three run when Noah Nunez stepped back to the three-point line and nailed the three-pointer, which gave Goddard their first double-digit lead of the game, 23-11.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Goddard seniors. On a fastbreak, Chavez found John Carrillo on a pretty pass for a lay-up to give them a 34-19 lead. Carrillo finished with 16 points.
Later in the quarter as one of the Goddard players chased down the ball and passed it to Carrica who looked at the Lobos’ defender and hoisted a three-point bomb that found nothing but net. The crowd rose to their feet and went crazy as Carrica raised his arms and smiled.
“That was for our fans,” Carrica said with a wink.
Coach Mestas knows there is still a lot of basketball to be played as the team will face Clovis next week. Mestas hopes the team that showed up on Tuesday is the team that shows up for the rest of the season.
With two games to play before they start district games, Mestas hopes the win and good feelings will continue as they get Montanez back.
In the upcoming game against Clovis, Goddard has faced a team like this in Roswell on Tuesday. Clovis wants to push the ball and get up and down the court and play fast basketball.
Clovis has some big guys at the power forward spots and center spot, so they will have to be ready to play. Clovis also has some guards that have some quickness to them, so Goddard has to be ready to play when they get off the bus.
“We won, but we can’t play this way in Clovis; they’ll run us off the court,” said Mestas.
Mestas talked about his second graduating class after the game.
Jonah Chavez: “I feel so happy and fortunate that he came to Goddard and he came to play for us. It is kind of like winning a prize. He comes from a good family. He’s just an overall good kid, and he’s very coachable.”
Josh Dominguez: “He’s a team player, he’s coachable and he’s been with the program since he was a freshman. He’s been to practice every day and he’s a hard worker. We’re just happy to have him.”
Jon Carrillo: “He came from Roswell, again; we’re fortunate to have a kid like him. He’s a great defender. Today (Saturday) he made 10 of 11 free throws, he’s really improved his game offensively in the last two years. He’s just a hard worker.”
Derek Carrica: “He’s a good kid, he works hard, as well.”
The Rockets travel to Clovis on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.