Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
It was only the first game of the season for Goddard, so it is understandable that the Goddard boys’ basketball team was a little discombobulated. What, with trying to wear a mask and breathe during full-court action, and break the Roswell Coyotes’ full-court press, well, it’s enough to make you think you’re an emergency when there is none.
That’s what happened when the visiting Roswell Coyotes forced them into 38 turnovers in the game. Roswell was able to get Goddard into foul trouble as they defeated them, 79-61 at Ground Zero Tuesday night.
“We have six seniors that keep us together,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “We have some young kids that we’re trying to bring along that we are going to have to replace next year. We’re trying to find that chemistry — some of those guys have been playing together since they were little.”
Last year, the Coyotes’ coach had the instant offense in Dominic Nava to get them buckets in a hurry. He wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger from anywhere on the court. Nava had a complete game to compliment what they did last. He could shoot the three, drive the ball and kick it to an open man, and also take it to the hoop.
This year, after not playing basketball, it looks like they have found the perfect companion to guard Taymon Burrola in Rhett Stokes. Stokes was the question that Goddard didn’t have an answer for. Stokes scored 28 points and wasn’t afraid to pull up for a three-point shot — he would hit four in the game.
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He also gave the Coyotes breathing room as he would drive the ball and score on a layup as he did when the Rockets were making their run to claw back in the game. He scored six unanswered points to break a 25-25 deadlock after Goddard held Roswell scoreless for two minutes.
This wasn’t a pretty win for Roswell, because they turned the ball over 20 times, but mistakes can be expected with football players coming out and seeing their first action of the season.
Roswell (2-0) should be loaded and featured to contend. This is a year in which teams are happy to be playing — this might be coach Burrola’s best team.
He has the right mix of athleticism, outside shooting and defense. Look for them to make a deep run in the playoffs this year. One of the key games will be when they play back-to-back games against Artesia on the road and a neutral site game against powerhouse Cleveland. The following week they will open district with road games against Hobbs and Carlsbad — it will show how far they are out this season.
This season the team will run through senior guard Taymon Burrola. It is his last hoorah, and the team has not needed him to be special yet. The games are coming when it will be on his shoulders to take over the game and take the shot to make a key assist or block.
This season is all about the culmination of four years of play since Taymon’s freshman year. He will get plenty of help with Talon Sanders, Freddie Anaya, Stokes, and an inside game from free-jumping Alonzo Acosta and T.J. Fletcher. He is paired with guard Damian Morales.
Goddard coach Anthony Mestas should be encouraged with the play of guard Stefan Nuguid. All Nuguid needs is for Mestas to give him the keys to the car and let him get comfortable driving it. Nuguid can shoot and has the handles to get to the basket. He is one of the players capable of getting his own shot.
Nuguid will team well with the hustling Jared Hicks. Hicks is the glue to the team, as he goes, so will the Rockets. Hicks had 15 points and was not afraid to take on the toughest assignment on defense. The Rockets found a toughness in the middle with young sophomore Rhett Price who was not afraid of mixing it up with the leapers of Roswell. He did the dirty work and battled for rebounds and was not intimidated to look for his shot against Roswell.
If Goddard can get inside play from him and he starts to feel like he belongs, look out because when Noah “young money” Reese starts to come into his game, the Rockets have the formula to win district and play in the playoffs. There is a lot for coach Mestas to work with and to be encouraged this season. One of the areas that Mestas hopes to improve is the team’s three-point shooting — they only made one all-game.
Unfortunately, the team could be better and play better and they might not win as many games because of a murderous schedule. Goddard is playing five District 5A schools in their early season: Roswell twice, Hobbs, Clovis and Carlsbad all before starting district. Maybe Mestas will consider this schedule during the regular season next year instead of the Santa Fe Classic.
Goddard is getting to the point where they can play Roswell tough and hang with them for a quarter and maybe a half, but the difference between District 4A and 5A is apparent as time goes on.
Goddard (0-1) was scrappy and fell behind 21-19 at the end of the first quarter. Roswell took a 23-19 lead and only scored a point in the next two minutes, as Goddard fought back and tied the game, 25-25 on a Damian Aragon basket. Aragon was the surprise of the game as he scored 16 points to lead the Rockets in scoring. Aragon battled down low and gave the team offense and a lift on the defensive end of the floor. If he continues to progress and play hard, the Rockets could have something special going inside with him, Price and Reese. This will allow them to play inside out when warranted.
“I thought we had a pretty good first half,” Mestas said. ‘I thought our boys continued to play well and fight. They didn’t give up and we had some sophomores step up for us. I thought Damian Aragon had a really good game for us. He played on both ends of the court and had to guard (Taymon) Burrola.”
Goddard had their chances to take the lead several times in the game but couldn’t convert. Roswell went on a 12-0 run and Goddard was never able to close the gap.
“It’s a tough season for everybody,” “Dude” Burrola said. “We’re trying to play a tough season with limited practices. We’re trying to go one game at a time. We have a tough game next week with four games. We’re trying to get ready for that. We have to use those games to get better for the season.”
Roswell will play Lovington at the Coyote Den on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Goddard faces Clovis at Ground Zero on Thursday at 6 p.m.