In a game of runs, Roswell started with the first run, scoring six points to take a 6-0 lead to open the game. Roswell had their chances as they continued to take the ball to the basket. In a physical game, Roswell was so successful in getting to the rim that they fouled out two of Hobbs’ key players.
Roswell took a 34-31 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Roswell lost the lead on a three-pointer by Teren Smith. The lead would climb to 48-46 to end the third quarter. For Hobbs, their two-point lead would be enough to hang on and survive a last-second shot, to win 64-61, Tuesday night at the Coyote Den.
“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We didn’t shoot the ball awfully well. That’s the first time all season that Nava or Taymon (Burrola) has been off. We still were in the game with them.”
Roswell would lose two key players as Dominic Nava fouled out with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter. What hurts the Coyotes worse, was when they lost junior guard Taymon Burrola with 20 seconds to go in the game.
Burrola was able to get the ball on the block and disperse it to others inside. At times he would go to the basket and draw fouls, which ended up getting two Hobbs players to foul out. The last 1:06 saw a frenetic pace of play and it became more physical than the three prior quarters.
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Roswell trailed, 51-60, and was able to tie the game up at 60-60 with 1:06 left to play in the game. In a scramble for the ball, a foul was called on Roswell and Hobbs’ Jalen Goar made both free throws to take a 62-60 lead with 30 seconds to play.
Roswell was fouled by Hobbs and able to get to the free-throw line for two shots, with 22 seconds left. Roswell made one free throw to trail, 62-61. The Coyotes created another turnover and had the ball with a shot to tie or win the game with 9.1. seconds to play. There was a scramble on the inbound play and Roswell ended up with the ball with 5.8 seconds left. Roswell had a contested look at the basket from the top of the key, but it hit off the backboard as the clock expired.
“Our motto right now is effort and heart,” Hobbs coach Shelby Reeves said. “I think we proved that at the end. I told our team that we have to win more battles. When Roswell took a 6-0 lead, our guys didn’t panic, also, I think one of the reasons is our style of play. Roswell’s shooting was a little off, I want to say that’s from us. Their legs weren’t there and they didn’t take their normal shots like they usually do.”
The games don’t get any easier as the Coyotes welcome in Carlsbad on Friday. Carlsbad lost Tuesday night to Clovis, 44-32. Roswell will look to win this game and split their homestand, because the next three games the Coyotes will play will be on the road.
Roswell (15-6, 0-1 District 4-5A) received great efforts from Alonzo Acosta, he battled on the boards scoring 10 points. He was able to put back missed shots and he was a force on the defensive end blocking shots. He gathered key rebounds and has become a force down low for the Coyotes this season.
Cristian De la O played huge for the Coyotes on Tuesday night. He fought and sparked his team with his toughness. He had a steady hand with the ball and didn’t back down from Hobbs’ vaunted press. He also was looking for his shot and hit it, as he was second in scoring for Roswell with 11 points.
With some of the stars not having a good game scoring, Jasia Reese, who has been coming on lately, was all over the floor. He made his layups and was unstoppable going to the basket with his spin move. Reese led the team in scoring with 19 points. He led the team in steals with four. Reese is starting to catch his second wind and get into basketball shape.
Talon Sanders was able to get to the basket when he wanted to — he added six points. One of the surprises has to be big man T.J. Fletcher. Coach Burrola has gone to Fletcher more and more in key moments. Fletcher is able to give the team a spark with blocked shots or a key rebound.
“We were still in the game with Hobbs,” coach Burrola said. “We didn’t shoot the ball, we had a chance at the end, we didn’t get what we wanted to. But I thought we rebounded with them and played defense with them. We didn’t play real good in the third quarter and had some turnovers. We just feel a little bit short tonight. I thought we played good enough to win.”
Roswell plays at 7 p.m. in the Coyote Den Friday against Carlsbad.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.