Maybe Roswell needed Dominic Nava, and maybe they didn’t. That subject was up for conjecture. Nava didn’t start the game and wasn’t supposed to play because of injuries. Artesia got off to a quick 4-0 lead and it was only a matter of time before Nava entered the game.
Nava played like he wasn’t injured, tired or had missed a beat. In other words, he balled out, scoring 13 points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. Nava led the Coyotes in scoring with a team-high 27 points, as Roswell came back from a deficit to win, 62-54, against Artesia Tuesday night at the Coyote Den.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Artesia coach Michael Mondragon said. “That’s on us as a coaching staff. We were very lethargic and they didn’t follow the game plan. We didn’t rebound very well. Sometimes that happens when you play five or six on the road.”
Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola played a lot of players, starting with Talon Sanders and Alonzo Acosta. Both players played well, Sanders was able to drive the ball to the basket and was key to helping Roswell break Artesia’s press. He was able to get to the rim and kick the ball back for an open jumper.
Another player starting to come into his own is Acosta. He kept the ball alive against the much bigger Bulldogs and battled. He scored 10 points with a majority of his points coming on offensive rebounds and follow-ups from his teammates’ missed shots. He became a presence on the defensive end of the floor as well.
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One of the Coyotes’ unsung heroes was junior guard, Taymon Burrola. Burrola isn’t afraid to take the big shot, regardless of how he is shooting. He had Artesia crossed up, with his quiet 16 points, he scored in a mix of ways — from the three-ball, to the drive. His biggest asset in this game was finding the open man for the shot.
Roswell ended the first quarter on a 4-0 run. Acosta and Sanders each made layups to give RHS a 10-9 lead. It was enough as the Coyotes outscored Artesia to lead at halftime, 28-19. At one point it looked like Roswell was going to run away with the game by taking a commanding 43-30 lead with 1:46 to play in the fourth quarter.
Roswell had to survive a late flurry of three’s by the hot-shooting Clay Houghtaling, as he scored six points with one of them being a three, as Artesia closed the score to 51-46 with 3:10 to play. Roswell went into the stall and made Artesia foul them as it became a foul shooting contest. Nava would hit Roswell’s last five points to give them a 62-54 lead.
Jasia Reese is starting to get into basketball shape and had four points. Roswell is getting good guard play from Cristian De la O, along with Xavier Sosa. TJ Fletcher came in to play tough defense and grab some rebounds. Fletcher is a quick jumper and helps to keep balls alive and the Coyotes will need all that and more going forward once they hit district play.
Roswell (14-5) has one game to play before districts. This means that coach Burrola will have his third winning season as a head coach.
“I thought we played a solid game,” coach Burrola said. “We want to be playing our best next week. I think we responded to the things they gave us, and we rebounded well with them, even though they are bigger than us. I think that was the difference in the game, we were able to rebound.”
Roswell plays Portales at the Coyote Den 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
All season long it has been the same story with the Lady Coyotes. After a season-high 60 points against Santa Teresa on Saturday, some might have thought the lid was off the basket. Roswell found that it was not as they had trouble scoring in a 52-29 loss, to Artesia, Tuesday night at the Coyote Den.
“We just have to play better,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said. “Honestly, we have to play better top to bottom. I didn’t think our older girls played very well today. We put a lot of pressure on our younger girls when our older girls don’t play well.”
The good news was that Mercedes Velasco scored nine points and was able to get to the basket. Mireya Grajeda added six points and Amariah Toscano and Makenzie Tarin each put in four points.
The Lady Coyotes played hard and well, they just had trouble scoring. Janae Faust is a tower inside and continues to block shots, Jalen Baca is not afraid to drive down the middle and try to score. Things will get better for Roswell. On a positive note, they have surpassed their win total from last season.
The next time Roswell steps on the court, it will be for a district matchup with Hobbs, at Hobbs. With six games left in their season, Roswell’s real season is starting.
“We just have to get better,” Sanchez said. “there’s no lack of confidence from our girls. They’re still confident. They work hard every day in practice, there’s no question on that part. We have to translate those good practices we’re having to good performances on the floor.”
Roswell travels to Hobbs at 7 p.m., on Tuesday.
Goddard boys and girls lose at home
By Tom A. Ruiz
Special to RDR Sports
The Clovis boys and girls basketball teams took both ends of a double-header over both Goddard teams at Ground Zero Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (14-5) beat the Rockets 64-48 in the nightcap and the Lady Wildcats pulled off a monumental upset over the Lady Rockets, 38-30.
In the boys game, the Wildcats were just too fast, too quick and too athletic for the youthful Rockets.
However, Goddard (7-12) came to play. While Clovis at times was threatening to pull away and blow out Goddard, the Rockets continued to fight back.
Led by Brandon Montanez’s 21 points Goddard was only down 20-12 at the end of the first quarter.
“They (Clovis) could have blown us out by 50 points but we hung in there. Our guys never quit,” said Rockets head coach Anthony Mestas.
Clovis zoomed ahead 13 points 34-21 at the 3:05 mark of the second period. But Goddard wouldn’t go away — they scored the final two goals of the half and only trailed 36-25.
Clovis began to take control of the game at the beginning of the third period by going on a 12-4 run for a 46-29 lead.
But back came Goddard on a 10-2 run and cut the Clovis lead to single digits, 48-39.
Clovis though countered with too many weapons as the Rockets wore down.
“They have some great athletes and showed why they knocked off number two Volcano Vista last week,” said Mestas.
The Rockets will host Santa Teresa on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Ground Zero.
In the early game, the Clovis Lady Wildcats, who limped into Ground Zero Tuesday, walked away with a 38-30 upset of the Lady Rockets.
Goddard coach Jared Neighbors compared Clovis’ win with that of a perfect storm. “It definitely was,” said Neighbors.
“We came out flat, our body language told the story. We couldn’t shoot the ball, and we had 21 turnovers and that was just in the first half,” Neighbors added.
Clovis (8-11) though gained confidence as the game went on. They were without two players who quit the team last week and another one suffered a concussion the week before.
“If there ever was a time for our girls to quit, Tuesday night was the night,” said Clovis head coach Jeff Reed.
But they didn’t — instead they hung close with Goddard. The Lady Rockets also were their own worst enemy.
They were leading 11-5 after the first quarter but should’ve have been up by double digits. They got great shots but the ball just would not go in.
“It was that kind of night,” Neighbors pointed out.
When in trouble Goddard couldn’t find its go-to player to settle them down. Granted, the Lady Rockets live and die by their perimeter game and any one player could take over a game, but that didn’t happen Tuesday night.
Alexis Sandoval led the Lady Rockets with nine points. But it was Hanna Nussbaumer of Clovis who became a thorn in Goddard’s side.
In the second period, she led the Lady Wildcats on a 13-6 surge and a 28-22 lead at halftime. Goddard never led again.
“During our timeouts, she kept imploring her teammates, they fed off of that,” said Reed.
Goddard (14-3) tried to rally in the fourth period trailing by only six points, 34-28, with under three minutes to play. But they just didn’t have the juice.
So was the loss a wakeup call for Goddard? “I sure hope so. We can’t play like this, especially as we head to district,” said Neighbors.
Goddard begins a three-game road trip starting with Santa Teresa at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, then at Tucumcari on Jan. 28, and at St. Pius X on Feb. 1.
Goddard opens district play on Feb. 4 when they host Portales.