Everyone that follows Roswell basketball knows there is more than one scorer on the team. Against the Portales Rams, Alonzo Acosta got the scoring started with Roswell’s first 10 points. After that, Taymon Burrola scored a team-high 20 points on a mix of threes and drives to the basket. Burrola did a good job of getting fouled and making his free throws, and he added seven assists. Roswell turned a close 36-33 halftime lead into a 71-52 win at the Coyote Den Friday night.
“He (Acosta) did good,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. He’s been playing well and rebounding well. He got into foul trouble and I sat him a little bit. We are going to need him down the stretch. He’s just playing better.”
Roswell might have taken this game lightly after having defeated Portales in their last two meetings by a score of 76-44 last year and 72-55 in 2017. Portales had trouble after halftime as Roswell slowly turned up the pressure on their press. The game never looked or felt like it was a blowout as Roswell slowly pulled away.
By the end of the third quarter, Roswell had held Portales to two points. Roswell took a 51-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Roswell had frustrated the Rams so much that head coach, Rickie McBroom was assessed a technical foul with 1:53 to play in the third quarter.
“Yeah, we lost 71-52,” Portales coach Rickie McBroom said. “They just keep putting pressure on you. I give them the credit and I do like the team we’re becoming. We went through a lot of injuries this season and we’re starting to come together.”
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Roswell (15-5) held Texas Tech football recruit, Philip Blidi to 10 points in the game. He spent much of the third quarter on the bench with a bloody nose. Blidi was a force on the inside, but Acosta was able to block his shot on more than one occasion. Roswell ‘s half-court defense clamped down on the Rams’ three-point shooters to turn the game around in the third quarter.
Dominic Nava did not start the game but came off the bench to chip in with 12 points. Nava didn’t drive as much and did most of his work from three-land. For Roswell, final exams start Tuesday. In essence, so does their season.
Hobbs will come calling to open up district play. Then Carlsbad will be in on Friday, but then the Coyotes will be tested as they were earlier in the season when they played a majority of their games on the road. Roswell will play three consecutive games on the road and come home to close the season with a game against Clovis, which could be for the district title.
In the matchup against Hobbs, expect Hobbs to press Roswell getting off the bus. Roswell hasn’t played a lot of pressing teams at home this season. In an earlier matchup, this season Roswell was pressed by Rio Rancho, but the Hobbs’ press will be nothing new to the Coyotes and nothing they’re not used to.
In the home game against Hobbs last year, Roswell all but had the game won. Turnovers and not making their free throws came back to haunt them. Roswell has been hitting their free throws better this year, and they have a host of ball handlers that can break the press.
Coach Burrola will have more depth than Hobbs (13-7) and has to rotate his players in to keep them fresh for the end of the game. Hobbs only goes seven-eight players deep, and there is a drop off when the reserves come into the game.
Roswell has a lot to play for in these next six games. Seeding is very important, they are also playing for a first-round bye in the district tournament. Roswell will need to win five out of their last six games to win 20 games for the second time in Burrola’s three years as coach.
“Taymon Burrola has got an all-around game,” “Dude” said. “He’s been working at it for a long time. He’s started since he was a freshman. He’s experienced and I just expect a lot out of him, more than anyone else. I’m proud of him and he steps up. I know it’s rough playing for your dad, but I think he does a good job of understanding what we need.”
Roswell plays at 7 p.m. in the Coyote Den against Hobbs on Tuesday.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.