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Lady Rockets enter Tuesday re-energized, refocused

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The Goddard Lady Rockets’ promising season remains in their own hands as they take on the Lovington Lady Wildcats in the first round of the 4-4A girls district tournament tonight. Goddard will host Lovington at 6 p.m. at Ground Zero.

Goddard limped down the stretch in district play, losing their last three district games to Lovington, Artesia and Portales. In those three games, Goddard was allowing just over 47 points a game, while only scoring about 36 points a game.

However, during the season, the Lady Rockets were scoring just over 52 points a game, and no doubt their scoring production was down 16 points a game down the stretch in district play.

So, what has happened to the Lady Rockets who are currently 14-11 on the season?

“I believe we just came out flat playing in the other teams’ gyms, and we just didn’t step up,” said Goddard coach Jared Neighbors. “The girls were disappointed on how we finished district.”

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But they are excited to get back on the court to make up for what happened in district, Neighbors added.

For most of the season senior Bailey Beene has been the inspirational leader of the Lady Rockets. “Bailey has been awesome, she’s been a great leader,” Neighbors said. “Several times, the younger kids were looking to her to do everything when we got behind.

“They forgot they are part of our success too. I feel confident they will be stepping up.”

Goddard enters the postseason ranked 42nd in the state, according to MaxPreps. So, basically what that means is the Lady Rockets have no room to make mistakes. They, have to win the tournament, which goes through Portales, the regular season district champ.

The Lady Rockets don’t want to leave anything to chance like placing their fate in the hands of the state seeding committee.

“I hope that at 14-11, they will consider us. But what we need to do is control our own destiny and hopefully not even leave it up to the committee,” Neighbors emphasized.

The Lovington team Goddard faces tonight is the one they lost to 31-30 a week ago — but blew out, 50-37, the first time they met.

But trying to beat a team twice in one season is tough enough — beating them a third time?

“If there is an advantage for us in this game, is that we have home court advantage, we beat them here the first time, and getting a playoff game on your home court is huge,” Neighbors said.

Beene could be the key in leading her team into the postseason. She has been at this stage of playoffs before. She was a sophomore when the Lady Rockets were in 5A and won the 2017 title, beating the powerhouse Roswell girls in the semifinals and then defeating Los Lunas 35-30 in the championship game.

“I really believe we’re going to step up and be ready to play,” Neighbors said. “We’ll be re-energized, re-focused. We’re running for the prize and we have our eyes fixed on what we need to do.”

The road to the Pit begins tonight.

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