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Dominic Nava leads comeback win in rivalry

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Roswell’s Alonzo Acosta (21) splits two defenders in the lane against Goddard Tuesday night at the Coyote Den. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

Normally, Superman changes in a phone booth, but not tonight — and for those that witnessed the performance that Roswell senior guard Dominic Nava put on at the Coyote Den — he saved Roswell from being upset by crosstown rival Goddard.

Goddard’s Brandon Montanez (12) shoots a three-point shot against Roswell Tuesday night. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

Nava didn’t change into his Superman costume in the locker room, he did it right before a packed house and had the game of his high school career. Nava scored 41 points with 23 of those coming in the second half. Roswell needed them as they escaped upset-minded Goddard with a comeback, by beating them 87-70 Tuesday night.

“We had to fix what was wrong,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We have to play four quarters and we didn’t. We had to turn around the second half and did what they needed to. Everybody is going to play us tough, but that’s on us. We came out a little bit flat. We got in foul trouble and they shot 31 free throws. We were fortunate to be down by only eight points.”

Goddard came to play and was not afraid of Roswell. The Rockets answered every challenge and even took a 43-35 lead into halftime. It was the first time Goddard has ever taken a lead into halftime since Goddard coach Anthony Mestas’ first year as coach, six years ago.

Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola held his team at halftime until the start of the second half. Roswell came out on fire as Nava scored a basket, and then Jasia Reese converted on a steal to make the score 43-39. Talon Sanders played big scoring 11 points — he scored a basket and before you know it, Taymon Burrola hit a jumper and was fouled. He made the free throw as Roswell took a 44-43 lead.

Goddard did not quit as senior guard Brandon Montanez had 23 points, as he willed his team back in front by scoring on a three-pointer to give Goddard a 60-58 lead, which the Rockets would hold going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Nava would touch the ball every time Roswell had it in the half-court set. Nava would either drive to the basket and get fouled or make a layup. If Nava wasn’t going to the basket, he would pull up and hit a three-pointer to break Goddard’s back after playing good defense on him.

“Nava was feeling it,” Burrola said. “We have 14 guys that can score and he was feeling it, and we just kept giving him the ball.”

Goddard had no answer for Nava, and when he wasn’t doing damage, Goddard was in foul trouble as Tony Panto would foul out at the 5:22 minute mark with 13 points. Noah Reese scored 14 points. Goddard played inspired basketball as this group of seniors played like they wanted to be the first Goddard team to beat Roswell in the last four years.

Roswell would take the lead, 61-60, at 6:45 to play in the game and not look back. This game was closer than the score would indicate. Roswell showed their championship heart as they had some big three-pointers from Hector Tarin. He hit three down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

“It was fun,” Goddard head coach Anthony Mestas said. “We played loose, we had fun. Nava just kicked our butt tonight. He was the difference-maker for them tonight. I’ll be honest, Nava kicked our butt. They were going high screen and roll and we tried to cover him and we couldn’t. Our boys played well for three quarters and then their press wore us down. I’m proud of my guys.”

Roswell (13-5) plays Artesia at 7 p.m., at the Coyote Den Tuesday for their only meeting of the season.

Goddard (6-11) plays 2:30 p.m. at Chaparral on Saturday.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.