It was a doubleheader district sweep for the Goddard Rockets and Lady Rockets over their counterparts from Lovington Friday night at Ground Zero.
The Rockets (13-9, 2-0) capped off the night with a 53-38 win over the Lovington boys and the Lady Rockets dominated the Lady Cats 60-37.
In the nightcap, the Goddard boys rallied from a 14-10 first-quarter deficit and allowed the Wildcats 23 points the rest of the way while Goddard poured in 43 points from the second period on.
Derek Carrica was the Rockets high-point man with 14 points and Jon Carrillo finished with 12 points.
After a sluggish first quarter start, the Rockets began to find their groove in the second period. They climbed out of a 21-15 hole, with an intense defensive effort. “No doubt we played better defense in the second period, which got us back into the game, and offensively we were patient and looked for the good shots,” said Rockets coach Anthony Mestas.
Trailing 27-24 at halftime, it was just a matter of time for the Rockets to make their move, and it happened 90 seconds into the third quarter when Brandon Montanez came up with a steal, went coast to coast and gave the Rockets their first lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
The Wildcats became their worst enemy in that quarter. They missed seven shots at the goal, committed six turnovers and the veteran Rockets — who on Tuesday came away with a hard-fought district-opening win on the road against Portales — went in for the kill.
“We know the teams in our district can win on any given night. We had to take care of our home court and win on the road, which we have done,” Mestas said.
Early in the game, it looked like the Wildcats’ 6-9, 295 pound Colby Vancleve and Goddard’s Carrie, 6’5, 230 pounds, would battle it out in the paint. That never materialized — instead, Carrica was more versatile. He dished the ball to his teammates away from the goal, grabbed his share of rebounds and made a pair of three-pointers, and Vancleve never came out to challenge him.
“That’s not his game, he wouldn’t challenge Derek and Derek just did his thing,” said Mestas. Once Goddard smelled blood in the water, they kept ripping away at the Wildcats in the fourth period. The score was 38-29 entering the quarter.
“No way were we going to allow them to get back into the game,” said Jonah Chavez, who finished with four points. “No one has given us much respect all year. We once again have to prove ourselves, I believe we did that tonight. We are now 2-0 in the district, we have the next two games here at home and it’s important that we win them.”
Mestas echoed that same sentiment. “We get our fans behind us, there ain’t nothing like being at home” — and the Rockets will need that home crowd Tuesday night when they host Artesia.
The Rockets played and beat Artesia 58-51 at the Poe Corn Tournament in December.
“It’s always an advantage when you’ve played someone before. You know their strength and weaknesses, but then they know yours too,” Chavez pointed out.
The Bulldogs are having a decent season too. They will enter Tuesday’s game at 12-10 (2-0) after their 52-47 win over Portales Friday night.
“Our goal from the beginning is to win district, get to the state tournament and make a run at a state title. It’s in front of us now, and the team can taste it,” Mestas emphasized. Tuesday night’s game tips off at 7 p.m. at Ground zero.
Clovis 62, Roswell 54
The referees are not supposed to be part of the action, yet they made themselves part of the game Friday night. In the beginning, the referees lost control of a physical game on both ends of the court by both teams.
In a game that resembled a UFC match, or Roswell-Goddard on the football field, fouls were called on both Roswell and Clovis in order to restore control before it got out of hand. It was so rowdy in the game that security had to be called and a Clovis fan was warned about his comments toward the officials.
“This was an unorthodox game,” Clovis coach Jaden Isler said. “Both teams got into some weird foul trouble. We had to play some weird lineups that we never had before. These district games are going to normally be close unless someone gets hot.”
The referees and Clovis’ fans were the least of Roswell’s problems. The Coyotes’ main problem in the game was they had trouble getting defensive rebounds as Clovis grabbed 35 offensive rebounds, which led to multiple second-chance scoring opportunities. The Coyotes did not have enough bodies to deal with the continual substitutions of the Wildcats as they spent all of their energy coming back, but it was too little too late as Clovis escaped the Coyote Den with a 62-54 win.
“The bottom line is we didn’t rebound,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “I bet they got over 30 rebounds on the offensive end. I knew that going into the season, that we didn’t have size. They’re just bigger than us and we don’t box out.”
The Coyotes never quit, they just didn’t have enough bodies to deal with Wildcats center Bryce Cabeldue on the offensive glass; nor could they stop him from scoring 15 points, many of them in the paint.
Two technical fouls and fouls called on Clovis kept Roswell in the game, especially in the first half. If not for those calls Roswell would have had trouble scoring, as they scored 18 of their 25 points from the charity stripe.
Roswell scored 15 points in the first quarter with 10 of them from free throws or technical fouls. What was Roswell’s undoing was no Nate Dutchover, Jasia Reese or Cristian De la O. Not having those players became a big deal because it forced coach Burrola to play three sophomores against a more experienced team.
Roswell (16-7, 1-2 5A) spent most of their energy with their press and made three runs at Clovis. The first was when Taymon Burrola hit a three-pointer with 6:03 in the final period to close the gap. On the next offensive possession Alonzo Acosta hit a jumper to give Roswell a 48-47 lead for the first time since they had the lead 17-16 with 6:32 in the second quarter.
Miguel Baray hit a three-pointer with 1:28 to narrow Clovis’ lead to 56-54. Roswell then held on defense and one of their players was fouled and had a chance to give Roswell a tie if the player made the one-and-one shots. Roswell missed the free throw, but got the rebound and missed a contested three-pointer with 49.9 seconds left.
“No excuses,” “Dude” Burrola said, “we should have won that game.”
Roswell’s leading scorer, Tarren Burrola, scored 24 points, and his brother Taymon Burrola added 17 points.
Roswell has to win out to have any shot of winning the regular season district title, with three games left in the regular season. Clovis (17-6, 3-0 5A) sits in first place in the district.
“We have to win out,” “Dude” Burrola said, “we have to beat Hobbs here on Tuesday, which is not going to be easy. We control our own destiny — if we don’t take care of business then we will see what happens.”
Roswell will face Hobbs at 7 p.m. at the Coyote Den Tuesday.
Lady Rockets 60, Lovington 37
In the opening game of the district doubleheader against Lovington, the Lady Rockets evened their district record at 1-1 with a 60-37 win over the Lady Cats at Ground Zero Friday night. Goddard entered the game with something to prove after their disappointing 72-43 district-opening loss at Portales Tuesday night.
“That left a bitter taste in our mouth. We knew we could play a lot better than that, and we proved it tonight,” said Lady Rockets head coach Jared Neighbors.
The Lady Rockets (13-8, 1-1) played up and down basketball, forcing Lovington to take frequent timeouts just so they could catch their breath. At one point during the game, Lovington’s head coach could be heard from the bench asking his girls to slow the tempo, adding, “there ain’t no oxygen tanks here.”
“We just played well on both ends of the court,” said Neighbors. “The girls really stepped it up, I was really proud of their effort.”
The Lady Rockets only trailed twice in this game, 3-0, at the beginning of the game and 7-5 at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter.
The Lady Rockets were fueled by Alexis Sandoval, 13 points, followed by Bailey Beene’s 12 points.
“We didn’t have to depend on Bailey a lot tonight, the other girls did their jobs,” said Neighbors.
After gaining the lead in the first quarter, Goddard surged to a 30-12 lead by the end of the second period. The Lady Cats had a horrible second period. In 14 possessions they had six points, nine turnovers, and missed 12 shots.
By the fourth period, the Lady Rockets refused to take their foot off the Lady Cats’ neck, sending a message to the rest of the district.
The Lady Rockets host Artesia 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ground Zero.
Clovis 45, Roswell 32
The Lady Coyotes will go to Hobbs Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. game.