Dominic Nava has the clutch gene, pure and simple. Nava can sit on the bench, overcome injuries, and not have his best game, and maybe not have his confidence. The one thing no one can say about him is he isn’t a big-time when his team needs him most. Roswell needed him as he scored to send the game to overtime to give the Coyotes a 57-54 win.
“Coach told me if I have a shot, take it,” Nava said, “if not, kick it out to the corner and give us three points from there. I thought I had a shot and I took it.”
Roswell’s coach Moses “Dude” Burrola substituted defense for offense down the stretch. Roswell only had the lead in the first quarter, when they led 6-2 with 4:24 in the quarter. The whole game was an uphill battle. Roswell would make a run and Clovis would answer.
Roswell’s hawking press and defense was the answer against the much taller Wildcats. Roswell had to go the distance with senior guard Cristian DeLa O with 14.9 seconds left. Clovis made one free throw to give them a 46-43 lead.
Roswell (18-8, 3-3 District 4-5A) took a time out and set up an inbound play where Nava would race up the court and look for a shot or pass it to a teammate. Nava outran a Clovis defender and at the top of the key with a defender on his hip. Nava jumped awkwardly and threw up a shot that hit nothing but net as the Coyote Den erupted in pandemonium.
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Bedlam would have to wait another four minutes. In the extra period Roswell trailed when Clovis’ 6-foot-6 Bryce Cabeldue was fouled — he hit a pair of free throws to go ahead, 48-46, at the 3:18 mark. Coyotes’ Talon Sanders scored a basket at the rim to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:50 to play.
Roswell’s Nava hit a jumper to give them a 50-49 lead. Wildcats’ Cabeldue would add a pair of free throws as they retook the lead, 51-50. Taymon “Iron Man” Burrola led the Coyotes in scoring with 20 points. He played huge all game and added his four throws in a row to seal the victory. Nava finished with 13 points.
“We practice free throws every day,” Taymon Burrola said. “We knew we had to make free throws down the stretch. We always have confidence in ourselves.”
This might be “Dude’s” biggest and signature win in his three years on the bench. Roswell ends the season on a high note and will likely go into the district tournament as the No. 3 seed. Hobbs beat Carlsbad, 72-57 Friday night and wins the 5A title.
Clovis finishes in second place with a 4-2 and Roswell is 3-3 while Carlsbad is in last place, going 0-6. There is no telling how many points Roswell will pick up with this upset win for the state tournament. Coming into the game, Clovis was the No. 8 seed and Roswell was the No. 12 seed. The district tournament starts next week.
“It’s a normal district game,” Clovis coach Jaden Isler said. “Every team is tough and it’s tough to win on the road. I thought we did a good job most of the game. They hit a tough shot to send it to overtime. We made them shoot a three-over our big player. That’s how these games go sometimes.”
All the teams in 5A finished with an 18-8 overall and all four have a shot at getting into the state. Roswell will definitely be in the state tournament, it’s just how high a seed they will draw, and if they will get a home game.
“They’re a good team,” “Dude” said, “they beat Volcano Vista, they beat Hobbs, it’s a good win for us. I told our team to push the ball and we had Taymon in one corner and the other corner as a decoy. I told Dom, ‘if you have to pull it and hit it, do it.’ He did. It was a big shot for him and got him going. Nava and Taymon are the best two kids in the state when we play together.”
Gateway boys and girls end district with wins
By Tom A. Ruiz
Special to RDR Sports
The Gateway Christian Warriors and Lady Warriors both ended their district seasons with blowout wins over their Lake Arthur Panther counterparts Friday night at home.
The Warriors beat the Panthers, 69-49, and the Lady Warriors disposed of the Lady Panthers, 55-23.
Lady Warriors, 55, Lady Panthers, 23
The Lady Warriors 20-3 (9-1), were coming off a 39-38 loss to Tatum Tuesday night. On Friday night, they played somewhat flat.
“We really played messy,” that’s how Lady Warriors’ coach Holly Tipton described her team’s performance.
Playing Lake Arthur was no fun. They had six players on the bench and Gateway dressed 15 so it was a numbers game right from the beginning. The Lady Warriors jumped out to a 22-6 first-quarter lead.
But early in the first quarter, Lake Arthur got out to a lead, two back-to-back threes gave them a 6-5 lead. They made two of nine threes from the court. But that was enough of a fantasy night for Lake Arthur as Kaylee Stephens gave Gateway the lead for good with a three-pointer of her own, 8-5, and the Lady Warriors never looked back again.
A lot of credit to Lake Arthur, though, they kept tossing up attempted threes from everywhere in the gym. Their only shot inside the perimeter came at the 2:29 mark of that first quarter.
But being undermanned did not help them at all as Gateway used an aggressive defense to wear them down and midway through the first quarter, they committed eight consecutive turnovers.
In that first quarter, the Lady Panthers ended up turning the ball over 13 times. The Lady Warriors had just one thing on their mind — a playoff game against Tatum on Monday at Dora.
“The girls have a job to do on Monday,” said Tipton. “We beat them by three at our place and lost by one there (Tatum).”
In preparation for Monday’s game, “I wanted to see the girls play crisper and there were moments of it,” she said.
In that third quarter, Tipton got her wish as the Lady Warriors took a 19-point lead and blew it into a 33-point lead by the end of the period, 49-16. They allowed Lake Arthur just four points in the quarter.
Taylor Higgins was the high-point scorer with 10 points, Kaylee Reeves and Hannah Lilley each pitched in with six points and Kaylee Stephens had seven.
But now to the business of Tatum on Monday night. “They were really physical both times, a little bit more Tuesday night, but are working on some things to try to equalize that,” said Tipton.
At stake is the No. 1 seed in the upcoming district tournament. If Gateway wins, they get a bye throughout and await the survivor with the championship to be played Friday night, Feb. 28 at Gateway.
Warriors, 69, Panthers, 49
In the nightcap, the Gateway Warriors had a tougher time getting rid of the Panthers, which they finally did, 69-49. Gateway finishes at 15-9 and 6-4 in district.
The Panthers were not going to roll over and lose. They took an early 6-5 first-quarter lead. But just like the Lady Warriors in their game, the Warriors seized the lead for go in theirs at the 6:07 mark of the first quarter on a Wes Tipton triple for an 8-5 lead.
By the end of the first quarter, Gateway led, 20-10.
“Lake Arthur came to play tonight,” said Warriors’ coach Jerryme Ledesma.
In this game, too, the Panthers were undermanned — they only brought six players. But of those six, Adrian Guillen gave the Warriors fits — he finished with 32 points and Adrian Rangel had five three-bombs for 15 points.
In the third period, it seemed like the Warriors had put this game away, leading 59-35. However, Lake Arthur would not go away. On 11 possessions early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors couldn’t buy a bucket.
In the meantime, the Panthers began to chip away at the 24-point Gateway lead. The Panthers had gone on a 14-5 run and the Gateway faithful were getting a little antsy. “It did get a little tight there but our kids hung in and got the win,” said Ledesma.
The Warriors were led by Chase Winklers, 11 points; Wes Tipton finished with 9 points and Jacob Swann also had 9, with all of them coming from the three-point range.
Now as the Warriors get ready for the district tournament, they may be without the services of Joe Waide who turned his ankle and was icing it in a five-gallon bucket toward the end of game. Luckily, they didn’t need him down the stretch when the Panthers were making their run.
The Warriors were awaiting the outcome of Dora and Elida Friday night, which Dora lost, 63-56. So the Warriors will either be the third or fourth seed in the tournament.