The two hometown rivals, Roswell and Goddard butted heads for the second time in eight days. The teams squared off in the championship game of the Sunrise Optimist Club Poe Corn Invitational Tournament.
Roswell and Goddard had tiring games from Friday night’s opponents: Roswell won against Gadsden in a physical battle, 64-57.
The Coyotes welcomed back point guard, Taymon Burrola who had missed the previous game with the flu. Starting guard Dominic Nava rolled his ankle against Gadsden but continued to play.
Goddard had a tough game against Los Alamos, to win 82-66. This season has been a rough one — because of the losses of Hunter Beene and Ryan Terry.
The Rockets have had other players fill in admirably. With Goddard on a two-game winning streak, they were confident they could give Roswell a better game than eight days ago, when they were run out of their gym, 91-59.
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The Rockets’ played Roswell much tougher in this game. It wasn’t until a second-half blitz by Dominic Nava and Jasia Reese who combined for 12 points each to give the Coyotes the win, 73-57, earning the Poe Corn title for the 14th consecutive year. Dominic Nava scored 24 points to lead all scorers.
“We got some kids in foul trouble,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We were able to piece it together in the second half. We finally came out in the third and fourth quarters and did what we needed to do.”
The game started off to a slow start, both teams started to get into their groove toward the end of the first quarter. By the second quarter, the game was in close proximity, ending the half with Goddard trailing, 32-27.
“(This tournament) has given us a little bit of momentum forward,” says Goddard coach Anthony Mestas. “We showed a lot of heart. I’m super proud of these kids and I’m happy for them. They played. Last time we got beat by 32 points, but we were down by five points going into half time.”
Goddard’s Tony Panto brought the team sportsmanship and was a strong anchor inside scoring 11 points. Teammate James Torrez led the Rockets in scoring with 13 points as he was not afraid to take a big shot or a three-pointer. Also giving Goddard scoring was Brandon Montanez and Noah Reese as both had 11 points.
“At the beginning of the year, Torrez was playing junior varsity,” Goddard coach Anthony Mestas said. “We had to move him up because he’s an asset to our team. He’s super fast and he plays in our secondary for our football team. He can knock shots out from the outside.”
Roswell has a tough matchup against Onate who is ranked in the top five teams in 5A. Nava has been the catalyst for the Coyotes this season. Burrola has talked about Nava’s championship mentality that he has brought over from playing football this year, which has made the difference for him and the team.
“He’s playing well,” Burrola said. “He had a good summer, we didn’t have Taymon this summer because Taymon hurt his knee and he had to carry our team. I think he grew from there. He’s a kid that we need to have score for us. Hopefully, as we get closer to the district, he can keep up the scoring.”
Goddard (3-9) will face Cathedral at 4 p.m. in the Warrior Shootout Thursday.
Roswell (10-3) will play an undefeated Onate as of press time, 7 p.m. Thursday at Coyote Den.