The Goddard Rockets and the Lady Rockets emerged as the frontrunners in their respective district races as both beat their arch-rivals from Artesia Tuesday night at Ground Zero.
The Rockets rallied from a first-quarter deficit to beat the Bulldogs, 63-50. The Lady Rockets looked and played sharp in each quarter and won going away, 61-44, over the Lady Bulldogs.
The Rockets, (14-9, 3-0), have taken command of the district race but it took them all of one quarter to figure out why the upstart Bulldogs, (12-12, 2-1), took an 18-13 lead into the second period.
“We came out a little lackadaisical,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said describing his team’s effort in the first quarter. “Once we made the adjustments, we got back into our groove. And it was groovy the way Goddard began to find their stride with a 16-3 run, which resulted in a 29-21 lead that left the Bulldogs trying to find an answer on how to get back into the game. They never found one.
What the Bulldogs did find, unfortunately, was Goddard freshman Noah Reece who lit up the scoreboard with 15 points. Derek Carrica followed with 11 points.
“What Noah possesses is matchup problems,” Mestas pointed out, “and they (Bulldogs) had no answer for him,” nor the other Rockets for that matter. Xavier Garcia also scored in double digits with 10 points as did Jonah Chavez with 10.
As the third quarter began, the Rockets had emerged from the locker room with a 39-27 lead and right away began to work on the Bulldogs who acted like a Mack truck had rolled over them.
“We had to prove to them that we were the better team,” said Jonah Chavez. “We didn’t quite do that in the first quarter — we let them (Artesia) get out in front of us.”
If Artesia thought of a comeback, it was quickly dashed on a three-point play followed by a triple from Garcia and a 42-27, in the first moments of the third period.
Carrica put the finishing touch on the quarter by nailing a three-pointer from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded, ending the third period and a 50-34 lead.
The win makes the Rockets in as the team to beat in the district. So are the Rockets beginning to peak at the right time? “I believe we are,” said Mestas. “Now that we’re 3-0, we’ll be challenged — everybody will be looking to knock us off.”
And the second half of district begins Friday when the Rockets host Portales who they beat in the district opener, 45-42. “We need to continue to hold home court, and Portales will be coming here to get a win.” Mestas pointed out. The Rockets will be ready.
Hobbs 94, Roswell 78
Roswell had plenty of fight as Dominic Nava is asserting his will on this team. Nava has gotten better as the season has gone on and has not been afraid to take the big shot, or go into the lane and challenge players bigger than him — and he’s going to let them know it was him that challenged them on the scoring play.
Nava has brought a football mentality to the basketball court as he was assessed a technical foul when he went into the lane for a layup and hit Hobbs’ 6-foot-3 Jalen Young and stood over him and glared. For that, he was hit with a technical foul.
Roswell’s season might not be going the way they would like, but they have plenty of players with heart, fight and hustle in them and the future is going to be awful bright based on this game. All of those things are called growing pains, as the Coyotes turned the ball over 25 times and was pounded on the offensive boards as they lost to Hobbs, 94-78, Tuesday night at the Coyote Den.
“To me, our style of play,” Hobbs coach Shelby Reeves said, “got them tired. They’re shooters and we didn’t play good defense. It wasn’t too much we did, I just think they got tired and missed a couple of key shots and that was the key to the game.”
One of the main differences in this game, as it has been all season, is Roswell doesn’t have a big man to plug the middle and get rebounds or block shots. Miguel Baray is 6-foot-4, and is a quick jumper, but he is not the 6-foot-8 Logan Eaker the Coyotes have been accustomed to for the last four years.
Hobbs had 24 offensive rebounds, and they were able to hit their three-pointer as their press wore Roswell down. Roswell made a run at Hobbs to begin the third quarter as Baray hit a jumper to close the score to 60-55 with 7:36 to play. Taymon Burrola hit a jumper from inside the lane to cut the lead to 62-57 at 7:08.
Roswell, (16-8, 1-3 5A), made a stop and Nava hit a pull up jumper and Roswell trailed, 62-59, with 6:42 to play in the game. Hobbs scored and Roswell’s Talon Sanders scored on an up and under move and was foul completing a three-point play by making the free-throw as Roswell had the lead down to two points, 64-62 with 6:05 left to play.
“Hobbs is Hobbs,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “They make a run and before you know it, it’s to a 10-point lead. We called a timeout and kind of let off the gas a little bit and you can’t do that. We played a tough enough schedule and played enough that we know we can’t do that. We just let up.”
Hobbs was held scoreless for a minute and Roswell had a chance to take the lead, but Nava was hit on a jumper in the lane, but no foul was called. The Eagles went on a 10-0 scoring run, holding Roswell scoreless for two minutes and by the time a time out was called, Roswell was down, 72-62, with 5:01 left in the game.
Roswell never quit as it received great efforts from sophomores Rhett Stokes who hit a three-pointer and played solid defense. Sophomore Talon Sanders impressed with his quickness and ability to drive the lane and score. Another sophomore, Juan Ybarra, hit a jumper and a three-pointer in back-to-back possessions for the Coyotes. Tarren Burrola would score the last 11 points for Roswell, but it was not enough to come back as the clock ran out.
Roswell was led in scoring by Tarren Burrola with 27 points. Taymon Burrola and Miguel Baray each had 12 points and Dominic Nava chipped in with nine points. Talon Sanders added six points; Juan Ybarra put in five points. Christian Del la O had three points, and Rhett Stokes and the hustling Alonzo Acosta each scored two points.
Roswell is in a must-win situation as they welcome Carlsbad into the Coyote Den Friday night. Carlsbad knocked off the No. 1 team in the district in Clovis, 45-35, at home. By Hobbs winning, they are tied with Clovis for first place in the district. Both Carlsbad and Roswell are sitting at 1-3 in the district and this game will have implications for district tournament seedings.
“We have to be more resilient,” Coach Burrola said. “We’re going to have to win against Carlsbad — if we don’t, we’re in danger of not getting into the state playoffs. We are going to have to guard their shooter, Josh Sillas, who shoots the ball real good. They beat Clovis tonight, so we’re going to have to play.”
Simply put, Roswell has to win out and hope for some help with two games left to play.
Roswell will host Carlsbad at 7 p.m. at the Coyote Den for their last home game of the season.
Goddard 61, Artesia 44
The Goddard Lady Rockets looked more relaxed than any time this season during pregame warmups prior to their district game against Artesia Tuesday night at Ground Zero. They seemed almost business-like in nature.
They played like it, too, beating the Lady Bulldogs, 61-44. Their CEO on the floor was Bailey Beene who finished with 14 points, but it was Alexis Sandoval who led the way with 20 points.
Goddard improves to 2-1 in the district and faces Portales next as the second half of district begins Friday night.
Against Artesia, the Lady Rockets looked like a team taking a stroll through the Spring River Park and Zoo. They were that relaxed. “This team is so poised and composed, they have been like that all year,” said coach Jared Neighbors.
So it was no surprise to see how Goddard put away Artesia like old tax files. Sandoval was the catalyst. She nailed a three-pointer to give Goddard the lead once and for all to begin the first quarter. At the start of the second quarter, she nailed another three-bomb and in the fourth period, another triple gave her three for the game.
The Lady Rockets’ offense was almost flawless. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, their defense smothered Artesia who became so frustrated in the third quarter and come so close to throwing down with Goddard.
Goddard, however, kept their cool like the other side of a pillow. Nothing was going to phase this team. What’s on their mind next is avenging the triple-point loss to Portales in the district opener. This time, however, the game is at Ground Zero Friday night at 7 p.m.
Hobbs 80, Roswell 26
The Lady Coyotes travel to Carlsbad Friday night for a 7 p.m. tip off.