Lady Coyotes rip Lovington 66-28; De La Cerda scores game-high 31 as Roswell captures District 4-5A district tournament title
Above: Jaedyn De La Cerda scores on a fast break in the opening minutes of the Lady Coyotes’ dominating 66-28 win over the Lovington Lady Wildcats Friday night in the Coyote Den. De La Cerda scored a game-high 31 points and was named the District 4-5A Most Valuable Player for the 2016-17 season. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)
Below: Roswell junior guard Kaitlyn Holl hits a 3-pointer during the first half of the Lady Coyotes’ District 4-5A tournament championship victory over the visiting Lovington Lady Wildcats Friday night in the Coyote Den. Holl fini[auth] shed with 13 points. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)
The All-District 4-5A first and second teams were announced after the Lady Coyotes’ win Friday night. They are, from left: Lovington’s Azaria Stewart and Japeria Wright; Goddard’s Kat Kolker and Desi Flores; Roswell’s Sheyanne Sandoval, Kaitlyn Holl and DeAvion Allen; Goddard’s Micaela Kolker and Camaryn Villalpando; and District 4-5A Most Valuable Player Jaedyn De La Cerda. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)
The Roswell Lady Coyotes came out absolutely on fire to start their District 4-5A tournament championship matchup with the Lovington Lady Wildcats, putting on a scoring and defensive display that showed why they are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the land in a 66-28 blowout victory.
Senior guard Jaedyn De La Cerda matched her season-high points total with 31 and made nearly every shot she put up in the opening quarter to score 14 of the Lady Coyotes’ first 22 points.
While most teams have used specialty defenses to try and contain the future Lobo, Lovington came out with a man-to-man scheme early, and it paid off big for De La Cerda.
“She’s tough to defend one-on-one,” said first-year Roswell head coach Fernie Sanchez. “But when they double her up, she finds other girls, which makes us even tougher to defend.”
The Lady Coyotes held the ‘Cats to six points in the first quarter and just nine in the entire second half, but did have a lapse in the second period, giving up 13 points and putting Lovington on the free-throw line six times where they went 7-of-10.
“We came out with our defense playing the way we wanted,” said Sanchez. “We took care of the ball, rebounded well. I thought we had the proper intensity in the first, third and fourth quarters. We gave up some easy baskets in the second. It was a little bit of a lull, but we had some foul trouble and some girls were sitting on the bench with two fouls. We did get some great minutes out of some girls that probably didn’t expect to get in the game that early.”
The Lady Coyote defense clamped down again in the third, allowing a couple early buckets before shutting Lovington down until senior small forward Addy Jeter converted an offensive putback in the final minute of the quarter.
De La Cerda responded by making a strong move into the paint and banking one in off the glass to end the quarter with the Lady Coyotes up 51-24.
Roswell dominated the final period, allowing an early basket from Lady Cat Japeria Wright and two late free throws from freshman Ashanti Vaughn.
Lady Coyote junior guard Kaitlyn Holl, who finished with 13 points, hit her second 3-pointer of the night and De La Cerda added a couple more baskets before Sanchez pulled his starters, but the scoring continued with the reserves, to the delight of the Roswell faithful.
Junior forward Valeria Ibarra hit a short turnaround bucket with a defender in her face, junior guard Anica Dillard made it to the charity stripe twice, making all four shots and sophomore guard Anna Bell delivered a bounce pass on the run to sophomore guard Grace Velasco, who put in the final two points of the 66-28 victory.
After the game, the Lady Coyotes’ were presented with the District 4-5A championship trophy, the third straight for a program that has dominated the district for the majority of the past two decades.
Sanchez said it felt good to take district and he was proud of his squad, but the celebration would be short-lived.
“In this program, that’s the standard,” he said. “It’s expected. This program wins district and makes deep playoff runs. That’s what we’re about and it’s not gonna change, no matter who suits up for Roswell High.”
As usual, De La Cerda let her play do most of the talking, but did express excitement for the state tourney, which begins with the round of 16 matchups on Friday.
“It’s exciting because I know how bad this team wants to win,” she said. “I’m confident in this team. We’re hard workers.”
Sanchez said the Lady Coyotes will be ready for whoever the state seeding committee sends to the Den.
“We have respect for any team that comes through our doors, but we’re not afraid on anybody,” he said.
De La Cerda was named District 4-5A Most Valuable Player and joined two teammates — Holl and Allen — on the all-district first team along with Goddard’s Micaela Kolker and Camaryn Villalpando.
The second team was made up of Goddard’s Kat Kolker and Desi Flores and Roswell’s Sheyanne Sandoval.
Lovington landed two on the all-district squads — senior Azaria Stewart on the first team and senior Japeria Wright on the second team.