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Lady Coyotes run into Hobbs’ press

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Let’s call Hobbs girls basketball coach Joe Carpenter for what he is: a winner. Yes, he loves Roswell and has great affection for the faculty, players and town, but he has been gone long enough to be considered the opponent. After all of the hugs and well-wishes, his Lady Eagles pressed and turned Roswell over and inside out, holding them to two points in the first quarter.

Is that any way for him to treat his former team that he took to 14-of-16 Final Fours? Carpenter did something to Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez that hasn’t been done before: He made Sanchez take off his tie at halftime, as Hobbs led, 41-6, en route to a 65-20 win over Roswell as both teams opened up district play.

“We came out hitting shots,” Hobbs’ Carpenter said. “We executed early and that kind of forced them out of their game plan. It is what it is, we played the fifth-toughest schedule in the state according to Max Preps. We just keep playing. It is always good to come back to Roswell and be a part of this — fortunately, we got away with a win and I’m happy with that.”

Carpenter coached his kids and cajoled them and told the junior varsity girls on his team that they played better in the junior varsity game than they did against the varsity and they were up 40 points when he said it.

For Roswell to be successful and to have a chance, they would have had to not turn the ball over and kept the score in the 50s like coach Sanchez wanted. Roswell had more turnovers off of Hobbs press than they had points, but the bright spot of the game was junior post player Madeline Francis.

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As soon as the second half started, Roswell went inside to Francis as she made a move to score. On the defensive end of the floor, she blocked a shot and raced down court and held the position and scored on a putback to ignite the Lady Coyotes. Those were the highlights for Roswell in a game that saw turnover, block shot and hurried shots as Hobbs’ athleticism was too much for Roswell.

“It has been a slow process of bringing her (Madeline Francis) along,” Roswell Coach Sanchez said. “We see a lot of bright stuff in the future for her.”

Hobbs came into the game ranked the No. 1 team in the state. Roswell’s post player Makenzie Tarin held her own against the length of Hobbs who just wore Roswell down in transition, and with the barrage of players that kept coming in, Roswell tired down the stretch.

Carpenter may be a nice guy, before and after the game, but when the ball is in play — watch out. It is like a shark smelling blood in the water — his team is going for the kill.

“I don’t have any thought right now,” Roswell coach Sanchez said. “Obviously, that was a horrible display in the first half. I thought we had a little bit of fight in us in the second half. We didn’t have any fight in us tonight. I thought the girls prepped well for the game. I think that scared (us) and nervousness crept in and we couldn’t get out of it. We just got to do a better job to make sure our girls are ready to fight. Give Hobbs their credit — there is a reason they’re the No. 1 team in the state.”

The games don’t get any easier, because, on Friday, Carlsbad comes to the Den with a 19-2 record and a No. 5 ranking in the state. Carlsbad throttled Clovis, 40-13, on Tuesday.

Coach Sanchez feels like he has to get more out of his first unit and seniors for the team to be competitive as district play continues.

“Our district is going to be a fire pit,” Sanchez said. “We have to play better. No one is going to think about this game if we win the next game and the next one. I told the team that is not what I expect out of Lady Coyotes basketball, or the product we want to put out on the floor. We feel like we are better and can play better. We have to do a better job of getting the girls ready and any problem is always at the top. We never pass down blame. I have to do a better job of making them more prepared and prepared to fight.”

Roswell, (6-14, 0-1 5A), will face Carlsbad at the Coyote Den at 7 p.m. Friday.

Gateway Girls

Elida 53, Gateway 45

Gateway Christian, (10-5, 1-2 A), stormed out to a 16-8 first quarter lead but was outscored the rest of the way by Elida. In district play, Elida defeated Gateway, 53-45. Gateway Christian will take to the road and play Hondo Valley at 5 p.m. Thursday.

“They are a really quick team,” Lady Warriors coach Holly Tipton said. “They adjusted to our defense a bit and we didn’t hit our shots as well as in the first quarter.”

Roswell Boys

Hobbs 85, Roswell 68

The defense seemed to be the key in the first quarter as neither team scored. Both teams would break 60 points as Roswell would lose their first district game, 85-68, at Hobbs.

Roswell, (15-6, 0-1 5A), will be at Carlsbad at 7 p.m. Friday.

Gateway Boys

Gateway 57, Elida 43

Gateway Christian coach Daniel Smith has his team on a rail. His team has enjoyed the home cooking for two games in a row and put it on Elida, 57-43, as senior guard Jaydon Stephens went off to the tune of 26 points and Warren Scott added 10. Warriors’ guard Joe Wide, who is still continuing to find his stroke, put in nine points.

“I thought the key to the game,” Warriors coach Smith said, “was our defensive intensity. We turned around the first half.”

Gateway Christian, (13-5, 3-0 A), was on cruise control as they were up by 25 points in the third quarter.

“We have to continue to play hard on defense,” Smith said, “and we have to move the ball on offense.”

The Warriors cannot afford a letdown as they will travel to Hondo Valley on Thursday at 7 p.m.,  before a showdown with district leader Tatum on Friday.

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