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Roswell falls to Carlsbad in district tournament

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The Carlsbad Cavemen ousted the Roswell Coyotes from the 4-5A district tournament with a 59-50 win at the Den Tuesday night.

“We just kept our poise,” said Carlsbad coach Jamaal Brown, whose Cavemen trailed 39-32 heading into the fourth.

The Cavemen would use brute force to outscore Roswell in the fourth quarter.

But in the third period the Cavemen couldn’t buy a bucket. They did drain a three-pointer but that was at the 5:28 mark of the quarter, and Carlsbad wouldn’t score again until :58 seconds remained in the period.

And while Carlsbad was falling apart in that period, the Coyotes (17-10) were coming alive. At one point Roswell held an 11-point lead. They were running and gunning and turned up the defense on Carlsbad, but they couldn’t land the knockout punch.

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Trailing by seven entering the fourth period, Carlsbad began exposing the Coyotes, who continued the three-point attempts.

Roswell’s Dominic Nava shoots over a Hobbs defender Feb. 12 at the Coyote Den. (David Rocha File Photo)

The Cavemen (15-12) let them. They had already begun to wear the Coyotes down and their threes fell way short or clanked off the iron.

“No doubt they broke us down,” said Roswell coach Moses Burrola. “We just didn’t take care of business tonight.”

The Cavemen knew coming into Tuesday night’s game that winning at the Den was going to be tough. “We prepared mentally for this game and it paid off,” Brown said.

Leading the Cavemen’s comeback was Josh Sillas, whose three triples in the fourth were assassin-like. When he shot them they hit the mark, hardly even touching the silky twine.

“He’s our emotional leader,” Brown added.

Sillas even forced the Coyotes into a technical foul late in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt. But he was injured on the play. Sillas hit one of two free-throws then limped off the court.

Roswell senior Tarren Burrola also may have played his final game at the Den. He finished with 17 points for the game.

“We let this one (game) fall through our hands,” a dejected coach Burrola said.

The loss also removed the Coyotes’ destiny from their own hands. The state seeding committee will decide whether or not to invite them to the big dance on Sunday.

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