By Eric Butler: Freedom Newspapers
Just as one local product makes her way to South Plains Junior College in the fall, another will come back from the Levelland, Texas school.
Clovis’ Brittany Blackmon has decided to go to South Plains for her freshman year, while Portales’ Roni Gomez has signed to play at Eastern New Mexico University back in her hometown.
Blackmon, a hard-working, dynamic presence underneath the basket despite being just under six-feet tall, helped lead Clovis to the 2005 state crown in Class 5A as a junior.
“It’s a great opportunity for her to get in a program where she’s going to play immediately. She’ll gain valuable experience,” Clovis coach Miles Watters said. “If she’s willing to work hard, like she has the last few years, she could come out of South Plains and be able to go to a (Division I school).”
A starter at CHS since she was a sophomore, Blackmon ended her high school days as Clovis’ all-time leading scorer.
“They’ve got a real nice facility over there, it’s called the Texas Dome,” Watters said. “If she takes the opportunity, it could be a real good deal for her.”
Gomez said that Blackmon could be in for a bit of a culture shock, regarding some aspects of South Plains J.C. basketball. And she should know because, after Gomez spent her freshman year at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, she played for the Lady Texans last season.
“It’s kind of an old-fashioned school. I don’t really know how to explain it,” Gomez said. “Really strict rules, you wear the tall socks whenever you play — you had to wear knee-high socks, so that was kind of different.
“The gym was really nice. People came and supported most of the time,” she adds. “It’s a really big gym (capacity 3,200), so it doesn’t look like many people are there.”
Gomez, who was on Portales’ state championship teams in 2001, 2003 and 2004, gets a chance to go home now.
The daughter of Portales high coach Brenda Gomez, the younger Gomez will get a chance at the point guard position for the Zias in her last two years of eligibility.
“He (ENMU coach Linden Weese) gave me a good offer, so I took it,” Roni Gomez says. “I’m excited. I hope a lot of people will come and watch, because there’ll be two (Portales) people — me and Erika (Cook) both.”
The only thing missing now from the Zias’ backcourt is Kassandra Richards, a Rams’ sharpshooter who graduated with Gomez and Cook back in 2004.
“I wish she would (play), but she’s going to cosmotology school, so I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Gomez said.