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Coyotes’ magical season continues in an instant classic

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Taymon Burrola, left, and his father, Roswell basketball head coach Moses “Dude” Burrola. (David Rocha Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

What started out as high expectations for the Roswell Coyotes boys’ basketball team has continued, in a sort of unexpected way. Instead of being picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the District 4-5A conference, Roswell has become the Cinderella team everyone is rooting for.

It seems the Coyotes lost their glass slipper for four quarters, and the clock was about to strike midnight, with Roswell trailing 78-75 and three seconds left on the clock.

Roswell’s Taymon Burrola (24) goes up for a shot over a Hobbs defender Friday night at the Coyote Den. (David Rocha Photo)

Roswell had the enviable task of taking the ball out 84-feet from their basket. Roswell ran a screen play and got the ball into the hands of Taymon “Ironman” Burrola. Just as Burrola crossed the half-court line near the Coyotes’ bench with no time on the clock, he lifted a 40-foot shot.

The buzzer sounded and the teams appeared to be heading toward their benches when many were stunned by what was about to happen. Hobbs coach Shelby Reeves came from his bench, onto the court and could be seen yelling at the officials as if he had just lost his mind.

Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola walked onto the court and was doing the same thing. All of a sudden, the officials made a motion with their hands and pointed at the Coyotes’ basket, and instructed the players to line up for free throws.

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The official handed the ball to Taymon Burrola and he calmly sank three free throws to tie the game at 78-78 with 1.2 seconds on the clock. Those free throws were good enough to send the game into overtime and give the Coyotes an 87-84 win at the Coyote Den Friday night.

“All of those guys work extremely hard on free throws,” Roswell coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “In my eyes, that’s what wins and loses games for you. We have guys that have won multiple state championship games for us in that locker room, and I don’t know if anyone would have stepped up on the line and made three free throws as he did and make it look easy. He (Taymon Burrola) was clutch tonight and deserves everything he gets.”

The game was a physical battle all night long. The officials let both teams play — it was so physical that players were hitting the deck and slaps of skin could be heard from the stands. It seemed to be more like playground basketball — no blood no foul.

TJ Fletcher (23) takes a shot in the lane. (David Rocha Photo)

Roswell’s physical play cost them T.J. Fletcher, as he fouled a Hobbs player in overtime to keep him from scoring. Fletcher would foul out with 3:07 remaining in overtime.

“I feel like tonight’s game was one of the best in the state,” Hobbs coach Shelby Reeves said. “Both teams needed this win to stay afloat. Roswell needs to win to stay as a top team in the state. That sense of urgency gave an emotional feel to this game. I don’t take anything away from them, (Roswell) they’re a well-coached team.”

Hobbs would lose three casualties (two to fouling out) in the battle at the Den. Jesus Ramos was on fire and scorching the Coyotes for 14 points with eight of them coming in the third quarter before his ejection for taunting and talking trash. That was the turning point in the game.

Up until that point, Roswell would make runs and tie the game, or take the lead only to have Hobbs come back with a run of their own. Hobbs’ Ramos had just hit a 3-point shot and a jumper to give the Eagles a 49-41 lead when he was ejected.

In a physical altercation on a loose ball with Taymon Burrola, he was called for a foul. He started clapping really aggressively and loud and was hit with a technical foul. Ramos said something to the officials and was thrown out of the game.

Taymon Burrola was awarded four free throws and that cut the lead to 49-45 with 3:23 to play in the third quarter. Thus, began the Coyotes’ long methodical trek back.

The long journey back for the Coyotes seemed to coincide with a basket by Alonzo Acosta. He hit a basket at the rim with 38.6 seconds on the clock, which gave Roswell their first basket since early in the game.

Hobbs came right back when guard Jalen Goar hit a tough 3-point shot over the outstretched hands of a Coyotes defender to give the Eagles a 74-72 lead with 26.5 seconds left to play. Roswell turned the ball over and fouled Goar. He connected on two free throws with 16 seconds left in the game to give Hobbs a 76-72 lead.

Taymon Burrola hit another 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left at the top of the key to making the score 76-75. Trailing by one point, Roswell fouled Goar, made two frees to go along with his team-high 30 points to increase Hobbs’ lead to 78-75 with three seconds left.

“Our kids played their hearts out,” Reeves said. “We were without two seniors tonight, and our team played their hearts out for us. We’re young and will be back. These kids battled their hearts out tonight and that is all we ask.”

In overtime, Roswell had to overcome an 83-80 deficit. Taymon Burrola scored four of his game-high 39 points in overtime. He made 20 consecutive free throws.

“I can remember when Taymon was a little kid,” “Dude” said. “Taymon’s done it so long, shoot free throws. I remember when he used to come into the gym all hours of the night and shoot free throws. I’d rebound for him and we still do it. He’s done it since he was little. I just hope that in the pressure situation he would step up and make them and he did.”

He missed two shots the entire game. Roswell finally took the lead for good when Acosta made two free throws to give them an 84-83 lead with 47.7 seconds to play in the game. Coyotes’ senior Rhett Stokes hit two free throws with 11.9 seconds left to give them the victory.

The moment that won the game for Roswell was “Dude” Burrola taking a timeout after his team had been outscored 6-0 by Hobbs. Prior to that timeout, Hobbs’ coach Reeves had taken a timeout and spent the entire timeout on the court talking to the officials about not getting any calls.

When that 6-0 run occurred in the second quarter, “Dude” Burrola took a timeout. He pointed at the official and told him to come here. “Dude” Burrola walked out to the court and spent the entire timeout talking to the official.

That would prove to be the game-winner, that official called the foul that put Taymon Burrola on the line with no time on the clock.

Roswell outrebounded Hobbs 40-20 for second-chance points.

Alonzo Acosta (21) absorbs contact from a Hobbs defender while going up for a shot. (David Rocha Photo)

Roswell was led in scoring by Taymon Burrola with 39 points. Alonzo Acosta scored 18 points, Rhett Stokes chipped in with 13 points and Talon Sanders provided eight points.

“To me, he (Taymon Burrola) is probably the best player in the state,” Reeves said. “I haven’t seen everybody play, but he is the best player in the state in my opinion when I say, we are talking about an all-around player.

“He’s one of the smartest players. If his shot is not falling, he knows to go inside and get his points. He (Taymon Burrola) knows how to get fouls and get to the line and he makes key shots. He could have folded at the end, but he came up big. To me, that’s what seniors and big-time players are supposed to do.”

Roswell has swept Hobbs for the first time in a long time in district play.

Roswell (9-1, 4-0 District 4-5A) plays Carlsbad in the Coyote Den, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Lady Coyotes lose to defending champs

By Tom A. Ruiz
Special to RDR Sports

HOBBS — A buzzsaw is what the Roswell Lady Coyotes ran into Friday night against the Hobbs Lady Eagles in a 62-17 district 4-5A loss at the Ralph Tasker Arena.

This loss cut the deepest though because it virtually knocked Roswell (3-4, 0-4) out of any playoff possibility with only Carlsbad and Clovis left on its loop schedule and finishing with a non-conference game at home against Goddard on Saturday.

Hobbs, (7-0, 4-0) and No. 1 in 5A and the defending 5A champs are now a combined 36-1 from last year when they finished 29-1, and are 7-0 in this year’s shortened COVID-19 season.

In the first quarter, Hobbs ran out to a quick 9-0 lead. The Lady Coyotes got off some good shots but the ball just would not go in.

“I thought we really did some good stuff,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said. “We broke their press early in the first half. But with a team like Hobbs, we talked to the girls about having to score against them today (Friday) we just went ice cold.”

What also hurt Roswell was the Hobbs’ defense that forced the Lady Coyotes into 25 turnovers overall, and eight straight in the second period alone in which Hobbs converted into 16 points.

“Those turnovers got us a lot of points in a hurry,” said Hobbs head coach Joe Carpenter. “They missed a lot of shots too, so it was a bad combination for them,” Carpenter added.

Roswell failed to score in the second quarter, and their only bucket in the opening quarter was a three-pointer from Mireya Grajeda. Hobbs led 46-3 at halftime.

“I was really proud of this team,” said Hernandez. “They never gave up, I really love these girls.”

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