Home Sports Local Sports Roswell almost upsets Las Cruces in semifinal

Roswell almost upsets Las Cruces in semifinal

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Roswell’s TJ Fletcher (23) goes up for the ball against Las Cruces Thursday night at the Coyote Den. (David Rocha Photo)

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Roswell came to play Thursday night. They were taking it to the Las Cruces Bulldawgs at every juncture of the game. Roswell’s defense forced the Bulldawgs into 10 first quarter turnovers and 10 missed shots. The Coyotes defense was so fierce that they were leading at one point 18-4 with 2:15 to play in the first quarter.

Roswell ruled on the glass on both ends of the floor all game long. Alonzo Acosta grabbed 16 rebounds, and T.J. Fletcher had seven. Everything seemed to be going their way as they led 34-30 at halftime.

Roswell survived a rally by the Bulldawgs and led at the end of the third quarter, 53-46. The good news for the Coyotes was that Las Cruces big man Isaiah Carr picked up his fourth foul on the defensive end of the floor trying to block Taymon Burrola’s shot.

Bulldawgs’ coach William Benjamin asked the referee if that was four fouls on his player. By the time the official could answer him, Carr had picked up his fifth foul in less than 10 seconds.

The 6-foot-10 Carr fouled out of the game with 59.9 seconds in the third quarter. Roswell led 51-46.

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“I was trying to take the big fella out,” Bulldawgs coach Willam Benjamin said. “I took him out too late. Right when I was going to take him out, he got the foul. That’s bad on my part.”

What Roswell could not overcome was when Las Cruces went to a 22-press defense. The defense threw Roswell for a loop and caused them to turn the ball over.

It also stymied Roswell’s offense as they only scored five points in the last 4:45 of the game. Roswell had no answers on either end of the floor for William “Deuce” Benjamin. He scored 38 points in the game with 26 of them coming after Carr fouled out. Roswell would lose 68-64 to end their season.

“We had the perfect game plan,” Coyotes’ coach Moses “Dude” Burrola said. “I told our kids we have nothing to hang our heads about. We aren’t even supposed to be in this situation. We don’t have a kid over 6-foot-2.”

“Dude” said, “I feel like I let the kids down. We had two big leads and we just didn’t get it done. I told the kids that I feel like I let them down as a coach. They did what they needed to do. Unfortunately, we don’t get a do-over.

“We were with them and we had them on the ropes. We should have beat them, it is what it is. I thought we outplayed them all game long except for two or three minutes.”

Roswell was led in scoring by Taymon Burrola with 24 points. Alonzo Acosta had 13 points and Rhett Stokes added nine points, with Freddie Anaya chipping in with eight points and Talon Sanders had six points.

“Taymon Burrola is good,” Benjamin said. “He’s strong and knows how to get to the line. I think we did a good job defending him and getting the ball out of his hands in the second half. He does a great job of drawing fouls.”

Roswell ends their season 10-3.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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