Gomez signs on to play for Garden City next year

Kevin Wilson

Roni Gomez went right from high school basketball to golf, helping her teammates win the Class 3A title on March 12 in Albuquerque and competing in a golf scrimmage three days later in Hobbs.
Gomez went right back to basketball Wednesday, as she arrived back from the state golf meet in time to talk at Portales High School with Bobby Brasel of Garden City Community College.
Gomez, who helped Portales earn three Class 3A titles in four seasons, will attend the Kansas school for her first two seasons of college basketball for the Lady Broncbusters.
“I just felt like it was a really comfortable atmosphere,” said Gomez, who started at point guard for the last three seasons at Portales. “They finished fourth in the nation in a really good conference (in the 2002-03 season).”
Brasel said his fifth season was an injury-filled 14-16 campaign, and Gomez is the type of point guard who could help his team make a quick turnaround.
“One of the premiere needs (as a junior college) is point guard,” Brasel said. “She came really highly recommended.”
Brasel compared Gomez to a former GCCC point guard, Krystle Jim of Rio Rancho. He said both are very good at controlling games.
“She’s a solid defender, she hits open shots, she makes everyone around her better,” Brasel said of Gomez. “She does nothing spectacular, but she’s solid. I mean that in the best possible way, because I’m an old-school guy.”
The 5-foot-7 Gomez averaged 10 points and five assists per game for Portales, which went 23-4 and won its second-straight 3A title in March.
“I like junior colleges, because I’m going to get playing time,” Gomez said, “and that’s what will help me get to the next level.
“I’m going to have to work really hard and keep my grades up. Your shot may not always fall, but you can always work harder.”
It was a mixed bag of reactions for Brenda Gomez, Roni’s high school coach and mother. The upcoming season will mark the first time Brenda does not take a role in the type of basketball program or training regimen for Roni.
“I’ve been on both sides,” Brenda Gomez said. “I think it’s important that (PHS Athletic Director and father) Don (Gomez) and I give her support, and make sure it’s positive support.”
Overall, she said she has feelings very similar to when Laci Lee signed with Eastern New Mexico University in 2001.
“I’m just excited that one of our players gets to go to the next level,” she said. “Playing at the college level (at ENMU) is something I did love, and I’d love for everybody to have that opportunity.”
As a mother, however, she admitted a little bit of separation anxiety.
“As a mother,” she said, “I’m proud for her to experience life, but I’d like to be more involved. So it’s kind of a mixed bag.”