The Portales Lady Rams are looking for their fourth consecutive trip to the Class 3A quarterfinals in Albuquerque under fourth-year head coach Clay Stout tonight as they host the Socorro Warriors in the regional round of the state playoffs.
“It’s my fourth year at PHS and we’ve been blessed to win all of them (regionals) and get to state,” Stout said. “Our kids are right where they should be now.”
The Lady Rams (16-9) earned the No. 2 seed after squeaking past Lovington 43-40 Saturday in the District 4-3A championship, giving them the luxury of a home game against No. 15 Socorro (10-17).
Stout says Socorro is a lot like Lovington and he expects to see them press the entire game. He says they’ll also try to play an up-tempo game.
“They try to score a lot of baskets by driving and getting to the rim,” Stout said. “We just have to make sure we contain the ball.”
One common opponent gives away just how big a task Socorro faces. Ruidoso beat the Warriors twice this season in non-league play, both times by 30 points or more. The Lady Rams defeated league foe Ruidoso in both of their contests.
The Warriors are led in by scoring of senior guard Jaden Jones. Stout said she has had a couple of games when she scored more than 30 points. She’s a threat inside and out, and pulls up on a jump shot really well, Stout said.
Other players to watch for Socorro include senior point guard Samantha Sedillo and 5-11 freshman center Makayla Jacobs.
Stout says going into the playoffs his advice to his players has been to focus on the things they can control and not worry about what they have no control over.
While the Lady Rams have state tournament experience, this year’s team has just one senior, Gabby Garcia. That youth hasn’t bothered Stout in the least, however.
“This has really been a great group of girls to coach,” he said. “It’s fun and exciting to be in the playoffs. This is a team of great leadership from the freshmen on up.”