Home Sports Local Sports Goddard’s Alexis Sandoval makes all-state

Goddard’s Alexis Sandoval makes all-state

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Goddard’s Alexis Sandoval (3) brings the ball up the court during a rivalry game against Roswell earlier this season at Ground Zero. Sandoval, a junior, was named second-team all-state in Class 4A. (Daily Record File Photo)

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When the District 4-4A coaches gathered to select the all-state team from last season, often coaches would discuss the girl from Goddard with the slight build. The girl seemed to be gliding against their teams as she would dribble the ball behind her back and without looking up fire a pass to an open teammate for a score.

Also, during a Goddard rebound, a teammate would throw an outlet pass to guard Alexis Sandoval. She would keep the ball on the elbow instead of attacking the middle. Sandoval would often put a head-fake on an opponent; pull up from 3-point land, and hit a big shot to change the momentum of the game in Goddard’s favor. Sandoval would slowly backpedal down court knowing the shot was money, as an exasperated coach would call time out.

When the selection of the District 4-4A all-state team came out a little while ago, many of the coaches thwarted by Sandoval during the season knew to name her to the all-state team her junior season, or risk her lighting them up her senior year.

With COVID-19, it took a while for Goddard’s big three of Daci Smith, Ericca Cannon and Sandoval to jell. The team had such promise and barely missed the playoffs. Playoffs notwithstanding, the voters knew talent and selected Goddard’s Sandoval second-team all-state.

Sandoval has improved her game every year. Former Goddard head coach Jared Neighbors made the decision to play Sandoval as a freshman. She teamed with Bailey Beene to upset Silver City on the road. Her play helped the Lady Rockets make it to The Pit, where they lost against the Gallup Bengals.

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“She’s been a starter since she was a freshman,” Neighbors said. “Very deserving. Very unselfish player this year. At times she should have been more selfish, but she prided herself in making her teammates better, and it’s great that the state recognized that.”

Sandoval has only taken her game to another level and played better. As a sophomore, she led two freshmen to the playoffs as well. In a play involving Player of the Year candidate Callie Crawford, Crawford fouled Sandoval hard, taking her to the ground.

Sandoval jumped up and both players stared at each other with Sandoval moving toward her. That set the tone for the rest of the game — the Lady Rockets continued to take the ball to the taller, more experienced Highland Hornets basketball team.

The 5-foot-5 junior knew that to improve her game, she needed to work on her ball handling and vision of the court while getting quicker. This year as a senior Sandoval wants to improve her shooting from the 3-point line to the elbow in. With her vision, Sandoval sees the court well and wants to master getting her teammates involved. Because Sandoval is the team’s point guard, she likes distributing the ball and giving assists.

Sandoval became so competitive by playing against her older brother, Anthony. They played every sport together. Anthony treated her like one of the guys. Her brother would block her shot and not take it easy on her. It gave her the will to push back and a passion to hate losing. The family put up a hoop in the yard and she would often go out and play by herself for hours. Sandoval credits her brother for treating her like a boy instead of a girl, which helped her develop as an athlete.

Some of the players Sandoval looks up to are Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade and Jason Williams, because of their handles, with her favorite team being the Miami Heat. Sandoval said if she had the choice between scoring and giving an assist, she would rather give an assist. Sandoval plans to play travel ball this summer to help improve her game.

“It feels good to make all-state,” Sandoval said. “It was a goal of mine at the beginning of the season. Going into my senior year, I want to improve my physical strength and my shooting. It hurts not making the playoffs, but I think we have a chance to be a really good team this year.

Sandoval’s chances of making all-state and the playoffs seem good. Goddard has given the head coaching job to assistant coach Chris Roybal. See a future edition of the RDR Sports section for an article on Roybal.

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