Ground Zero was the site of two great finishes by four of the best boys and girls basketball teams in the state. It was a doubleheader at Ground Zero with the Portales Rams and Lady Rams.
The Lady Rockets fought to the finish against the Lady Rams coming back from a 14-point deficit in the first half and just missing a three-bomb in an attempt to tie the game, losing 50-47.
Goddard Rockets run past Rams, 67-64
The Rockets used a determined effort and overcame a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit and won the game in overtime, 67-64. The defending champs were not going down without a fight against Portales, which beat Goddard in a summer camp game by 30 points.
“Our kids remembered that game, it motivated them for this game,” said Goddard coach Anthony Mestas. We were picked to finish last in this district this season and here we are at 2-0 after beating Lovington Friday night, and we get the chance to go to 3-0 when we travel to Artesia Tuesday night,” said Mestas.
This game really heated up before the beginning of the fourth quarter when Mestas was issued a technical foul. “The referee baited me and I took his bait, he told me something he shouldn’t have. He called me his son, I am nobody’s son but my own dad’s and I lost it.”
So the Rams began the quarter at the free-throw line leading 42-28 after the third quarter and made one of two free throws for a 43-38 lead. Then a Goddard turnover led to a 45-38 lead over the Rockets.
“We could have thrown in the towel right there but our kids refused to give up,” Mestas noted. Brandon Montanez, who will certainly be considered for MVP postseason honors, led his team back. He streaked to the basket with key buckets dished off a couple more and Noah Reese hit key three-pointers down the stretch.
Austin Ramey was not to be overlooked either, he was not afraid to go up against 6-foot-5, 255-pound Philip Bidi, a Blue Chip football defensive end heading to Texas Tech in the fall. Honestly, Bidi’s heart is not set on basketball but the Rockets attacked him anyway.
However, the game didn’t almost get to overtime, Montanez threw up a three-ball from half court that hit the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Goddard got on top early in the extra session hitting their first three shots and a 63-57 lead. But Portales came back and came within two points with 9.3 seconds to go on the shooting surge of their all-state wideout Kellan Hightower.
With the Rockets leading by three, Hightower found the opening for a three-pointer that banked him off the glass and the back of the rim. The Rockets rebounded the miss and are now 10-12 (2-0) in district.
Artesia looms big when they travel there Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Portales Lady Rams 50, Goddard Lady Rockets 47
It was a heartbreaker for the Lady Rockets, they had to overcome a 14-point deficit in the first half and took a six-point lead late in the game.
With 3:09 left in the game, Portales went on an 8-4 run and sealed the win with key free throws down the stretch.
This game, though, was decided in the final 15 seconds. Goddard had the lead with the ball under its own basket, but could not inbound the ball and were called for a five-second violation.
But Artesia on its inbound threw the ball away. The Lady Rockets gave the ball back on a turnover and were forced to foul where Portales drained three of four free throws.
Trailing by three, Goddard got one more possession to tie the game with a three-pointer. However, they came up short and dropped to 17-5 and (0-2) in district.
The Lady Rockets are in a position they were not expected to be in. They lost to Lovington Friday night, 51-39. “This loss was on me,” said Lady Rockets coach Jared Neighbors. “I did not have them prepared for this game.”
The Lady Rockets were led by Erica Cannon’s 13 points. Goddard has dug themselves in a difficult hole, with Highway 285 rival Artesia. They play Tuesday in Artesia at 5:30 p.m.