Home Sports Local Sports Roswell girls nip Goddard in a nail-biter, 53-51

Roswell girls nip Goddard in a nail-biter, 53-51

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Roswell’s Kaitlyn Olguin (25) scores two points while four Goddard defenders including Ambrosia Testyatwho (23) and Daci Smith (21) try to defend during Saturday’s game at Ground Zero. (David Rocha Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Tom A. Ruiz
Special to RDR Sports

Roswell Lady Coyotes sophomore center Kaitlyn Olguin went from believing she had disappointed her team — in a district loss to Carlsbad on Friday — to being the catalyst in a 53-51 non-conference upset win over the Goddard Lady Rockets at Ground Zero on Saturday.

She played lights-out, scoring 32 points and helping Roswell get its first win over Goddard since 2018.

It was the pep talk that Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez gave her after the Carlsbad game that motivated her.

“I had really struggled with my inside game on Friday. He (Sanchez) talked to me, and really built me up and gave me the confidence that I needed to play against Goddard,” the soft spoken Olguin said. “I really felt confident today, and prayed before the game, my Lord gets all glory for this game.”

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Olguin hopes the win will propel the program to the next level, elite status and another state championship.

“My teammates are excited cause we see ourselves improving. We love our coach and the expectations he has for us,” Olguin said.

Everyone was holding their breath in the remaining four seconds Saturday when Goddard’s Daci Smith, with Goddard trailing by two, launched a 3-pointer that rimmed out as the buzzer sounded. At that point you had to feel that a huge gorilla had been lifted off the shoulders of Sanchez as his girls embraced him at mid-court.

“I’m proud of our girls, they really played hard. I really thought the difference in the second half was our defense. We did a lot of things early that kept them (Goddard) down,” said Sanchez.

The Lady Rockets didn’t know it at the time, but it had to be an omen when the 6-foot-2-inch Olguin scored the game’s first bucket, towering over the speedy but undersized Lady Rockets. It was that quickness that gave Goddard a 16-10 first-quarter lead and led them to a 28-19 halftime lead.

Sanchez didn’t play Olguin much in the first half as she scored 6 points. The third quarter would be a different story. Trailing by 9 points, Olguin asked for the ball in the paint, and when you’re the tallest player on the court you don’t get denied. The Lady Rockets didn’t have an answer for her or the rest of the Lady Coyotes, who were playing off Olguin’s confidence.

“We were not getting any points in the paint with that defense,” Goddard coach Jared Neighbors acknowledged. “We had to hit shots from outside and we didn’t hit enough.”

Roswell was not going to be denied. There would be no moral victories on this day, Roswell had collected enough of those. A lay-in by Olguin at the end of third gave Roswell a 41-38 lead. They had outscored Goddard 21-10 and at one point held a 10-point lead.

Throughout the fourth quarter, the Lady Rockets would not go away. Championship teams are resilient. They trimmed the Roswell lead to one point. Goddard was going to make Roswell earn the win on its home court, and as Goddard’s Smith launched the potential game winner and missed, 200-plus in attendance gave each team a standing ovation.

The Goddard girls had suffered a heartbreaker and even in the midst of that hurt, they came out of their locker room to congratulate Sanchez and the Lady Coyotes, who were still in the gym. Class was demonstrated on both sides as Sanchez returned the kudos and encouraged Goddard onto a run at the 4A state title.