The Portales Lady Rams won the regular-season District 4-3A championship and the Portales boys forced a playoff with Lovington as both teams got wins over Ruidoso on their home court Friday.
Portales (15-9, 2-2 District 4-3A) wore down the Lady Warriors (15-9, 1-3), pulling away in the third quarter to post a 37-28 win.
Portales sophomore Jenna Sievers scored a game-high 17 points, including eight points in the first quarter to spark the Lady Rams offensively. Junior Macy Mitchell took up where she left off with seven of Portales’ 10 fourth-quarter points as the game moved into the paint. Mitchell finished with 11 points.
“It wasn’t easy,” Portales coach Clay Stout said. “I give them (Ruidoso) all the credit. They came out fired up ad we came out sort of lethargic. I was pleased with the way we picked it up in the second half.”
The biggest thorn in the Lady Rams’ side was Ruidoso’s junior guard Brittanie Vega, the only Lady Warrior in double figures with 13.
Stout felt going into the game that rebounding well against Ruidoso would be critical and he was pleased with the way his team stepped up in that department. He said he felt his team rebounded much better than when they faced Ruidoso the first time, especially at the offensive end.
“When you’re not playing real sharp, that’s what you’ve got to do is fight and scrap,” Stout said. “We weren’t hitting our shots but we continued to get rebound after rebound. I knew then we were going to be OK.”
The win means the Lady Rams will be idle until the District 4-3A championship game, which will be held next Saturday at the Ram Athletic Center.
Portales Boys 65, Ruidoso 52
The Portales Rams (15-8, 2-2) easily defeated the Ruidoso Warriors (10-14, 0-4) and won back their composure lost Tuesday night at the hands of Lovington.
“I was real proud of the way we started,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “I thought our kids came ready to play tonight. We didn’t let (Terrance) Shields get started early and that made a difference.”
Portales finishes its regular season at 3:30 p.m. today in Dexter, then faces Lovington at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the NMMI court in Roswell. A win their would mean they would play Saturday in the district championship, a loss would put them into the semifinal on Thursday at the higher seed’s home court.
“It’s nice to force a playoff game with Lovington,” Gallegos said. “We control our destiny. We’ve got to start tomorrow against Dexter, just like we did today.”
After romping through the first two quarters charged by three treys from senior Jesse Blue, Portales built its biggest lead of the night midway through the third quarter. Senior Andrew Villanueva clanged home a 3-pointer, then followed with a steal in the Warrior front-court that he took to the house. With 5:40 left in the third, Portales was up 45-22.
The Rams went cold soon after that as Ruidoso reeled off 10 unanswered points, paced by a 3-pointer and a two-point bucket by Shields, who led all scorers with 17.
Blue finally ended the Warrior run with 1:50 to play on an inbounds play inside the paint to make it 50-35. Ruidoso couldn’t recover after that.
“We were just passing the ball around well and found holes in Ruidoso’s defense,” Blue said. “The shot was on tonight.”
Blue said the team is excited to force the playoff with Lovington and ready to redeem themselves.
“They came in here Tuesday and beat us by 14. That really built a fire under us,” Blue said.