Senior Night or Senior Day, there is no other experience like it for an athlete playing their final game or games on their home venue. For the Goddard Lady Rocket basketball seniors it was a moment when their parents, guardians or whoever cares for them, a time to reflect upon their basketball careers as they were being escorted to mid-court and their accomplishments read out loud by the PA guy.
It happened Saturday afternoon at Ground Zero. “It can be a really emotional time for the players,” said Rockets head coach Jared Neighbors. Ten of the 11 players listed on the official scorebook scored at least one point.
“Every player from number one to 13 is important on this team. They play with heart, they hustle and they play hard,” Neighbors emphasized. The Lady Rockets (11-7) displayed that with a 50-13 win over the Santa Teresa Lady Desert Warriors.
Santa Teresa really was no match for Goddard. They entered the game at 2-13 and had lost 10 of their last 11 games, including a 57-12 thrashing by Carlsbad the night before.
In fact, the LDW had been averaging 12 points per game and giving up about 52 points per game this season. The least points the LDW had scored this season was 11 against Alamogordo and the highest point total given up was 65 against Hatch Valley.
Their only two wins came against Anthony and Hot Springs.
The Lady Rockets didn’t seem to be apathetic toward Santa Teresa and there really wasn’t any reason to be. Many times when a team has its back to the proverbial wall with nothing to lose, they fight to the death. Not on Saturday though.
Goddard squashed any hope of an LDW upset when they raced out to an 8-0 lead to begin the game, and he LDW’s body language said it all. On their first 12 possessions of the game they committed 12 turnovers and the tenacious Goddard defense allowed them only four shots at the goal. Their only bucket came at the 1:37 mark of the first quarter.
By the end of the quarter, Goddard led 14-2 and the LDW heads were bowed in defeat with three periods yet to play.
The second period was much like the first, the difference being Goddard was hustling for every loose ball like their lives depended on it. Bailey Beene was having one heck of a game, dishing assists, rebounding, running the fast break and doing what she does best, being a leader on the floor.
“That’s what I wanted to do better this year,” Beene said in an interview for an upcoming feature. And she didn’t fail the Goddard Nation in attendance.
Goddard senior Cielo Salinas also got into the act, nailing a long-three pointer while her freshman teammate Alexis Sandoval added her own triple. In the second half, with the game no longer in doubt Neighbors began to empty the bench.
“Everyone one of those girls comes to practice with a roll to play, they give me all they got and I respect and honor that,” said Neighbors.
The Lady Rockets play whoever faces them, whether it’s a team with 13 wins or a team like Santa Teresa, who after Saturday has 14 loses.
Goddard gears up for the district
Goddard overcame a rocky second quarter when they were outscored 15-11 by Santa Teresa. Goddard would feed the big man, Derek Carrica, as he would score 21 points and shoot 100 percent from the free throw line.
The Rockets got an offensive boost with the return of Brandon Montanez as he kicked in 13 points. Jon Carrillo is starting to heat up from the outside as he chipped in 10 points. Carrillo is quietly having a memorable senior campaign.
“Our boys played good defense,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said. “Our defense helped our offense when we weren’t hitting shots.”
Noah Nunez is starting to see the court more and find his offensive game. He put in six points. Jonah “Little General” Chavez ran the offense and knocked down six points. Rugged Hunter Beene had four points and Xavier Garcia put in two points.
Goddard (11-9) has a week off before they start district play against Portales at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5. at Portales.
Roswell 76, Portales 44
Roswell (15-5) boys bounced back from a 72-67 upset loss to Artesia at Artesia on Tuesday night. The Artesia game was the opposite of the last time the two teams played. On Tuesday the Coyotes came out flat and didn’t shoot the ball very well.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Coyote coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We had players in foul trouble.”
Roswell traveled to Portales and manhandled the Rams, 76-44. Roswell shot the ball well and stayed out of foul trouble. Portales tried to run a box-in-one on Tarren Burrola to limit his three-point shooting, but with that strategy Portales had to pick their poison — and Roswell ended up hitting 15-threes, with Taymon Burrola hitting eight of them. Taymon Burrola scored 26 points to lead all RHS scorers and Tarren Burrola chipped in with 16 points.
“It was a great team win,” coach Burrola said. “We will need that again on Tuesday when we go to Hobbs. It is gonna be a crazy and hostile environment and we need to play a full game and stay out of foul trouble and rebound to have a chance. Our tough schedule hopefully will help us in the district.”
Roswell will hit the road for their first district game on Tuesday when they face press-happy Hobbs at 7 p.m.
Artesia 55, Roswell 31
The Roswell Lady Coyotes hit the road Friday night and played Artesia tough for three quarters, only to trail The Lady Bulldogs’ at the end of the third quarter, 35-29. Roswell’s undoing would be a bad fourth quarter when they could only score two points. Roswell battled but went ice cold from the field shooting 1-12 in the fourth quarter, while Artesia went 10-15.
“I thought we had our chances,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said. “Tough to win any game when you’re outscored 20-2 in any quarter, let alone the fourth quarter. I’m seeing a ton of improvement from some of our younger players and that’s going to pay big returns in the future.”
Coach Sanchez relishes the opportunity to play No. 1 Hobbs, who comes calling on Tuesday.
“Our team is excited to go against the best,” Sanchez said. “We will never back down from any team we play. This is a great opportunity for all of our young players and older girls too.”
Roswell (6-13) welcomes Hobbs to the Coyote Den at 7 p.m. to start district play on Tuesday.