Home Sports Local Sports Rockets blast past the Wildcats, 70-55

Rockets blast past the Wildcats, 70-55

Goddard’s Gabriel Campos (32) puts up a shot against Lovington Tuesday at Ground Zero. (Steve Notz Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Tom A. Ruiz
Special To RDR Sports

This season, the basketball prognosticators did not choose the Goddard Rockets to repeat as district champs, and rightfully so. After all, they had lost a majority of their starters.

Don’t look now, Goddard is 3-2 in district and 11-14 overall after their 70-55 come-from-behind win over Lovington Tuesday night at Ground Zero.

The Rockets struggled early in the game as Lovington came out running and gunning. “That’s their game,” said Rockets’ coach Anthony Mestas.

Lovington jumped out to a 12-9 first-quarter lead and then led 28-23 at halftime. For a moment it seemed like the Rockets would need oxygen tanks to get their second wind.

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And that second wind came in the third quarter. But Lovington was not out of gas, in fact, they raced out to a 43-28 third-quarter lead with 5:43 to go.

The Rockets then tightened up on defense and forced the Wildcats into eight straight turnovers. “When we did that, things changed in a hurry,” said Mestas.

They sure enough did as Goddard converted each turnover to points and by the 2:01 mark, had tied the game at 43.

That’s when Brandon Montanez was fouled on a three-bomb, he calmly sank all three free throws and the Rockets had gone on an 18-0 run, and led 46-43 and would never trail again.

Montana finished with 33 points. “He was the spark, the other followed and here we are at 3-2 in district — nobody gave us a chance to win district this year,” said Mestas.

Goddard is beginning to put the pieces together at the right time. After all, when you have a coach who has won 300-plus games and two state basketball titles, Mestas knows how to push the right buttons at the right time.

“I really like how we are playing right now. We had a lot of inexperience coming in,” said Mestas.

Now these Rockets who were peach-faced at the beginning of the season, have now grown a little gruff and are beginning to play that way.

Goddard wraps up the season on Friday at Artesia with a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Lady Rockets’ defense wins against Lovington

Goddard’s Daci Smith (21) drives the ball against Lovington Tuesday at Ground Zero. (Steve Notz Photo)

The Goddard Lady Rockets got a gut-check district win against the Lady Wildcats of Lovington, 33-24, Tuesday night at Ground Zero.

“No doubt, we just played our guts out and left it on the floor,” said Goddard coach Jared Neighbors.

The win was not a thing of beauty for Goddard, who was two of 31 from the field in the first half. After leading 6-1 in the first quarter, Lovington outscored the Lady Rockets, 9-2, to take a 10-8 lead into the locker room.

So what changes did Goddard make at halftime? “Really nothing,” Neighbors noted. “So I just told the girls that if we put up and make 31 shots in the second half, we can walk away with a win.”

The Lady Rockets actually put up 19 shots in the half and outscored Lovington, 25-14, in the second half. Surprisingly, Alexis Hoover led the team with eight points.

Goddard 19-6 (2-3) won this game in the third period. They forced Lovington into nine turnovers.

“Our defense was just spot on — they were amazing all night. We toughened up in the second half. We handled the contact better and we ran the floor better in that second half,” said Neighbors. “It’s a game that we have to win. We’ll just keep fighting the good fight.”

The Lady Rockets finish the district season at Artesia Friday night. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. at The Pit in Artesia.

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