The Portales Lady Rams head to Rio Rancho for the 2010 Mel Otero Invite today through Saturday.
Portales coach Clay Stout said it is a rugged tournament with Class 5A and 4A teams, and gives the Lady Rams the opportunity to play more athletic teams.
“It always helps us to play bigger schools,” Stout said. “I feel that if we play the way we normally play, then we can probably win it. I think all the other teams in the tournament feel the same way going in.”
Portales (3-1), Rio Rancho (2-3), Las Cruces High (1-4), Clovis (2-2), La Cueva (4-1), Carson, Calif. (3-1), Roswell High (3-2) and Gallup (6-1) will be competing over the weekend.
Portales, which plays Rio Rancho at 1 p.m., is in the same bracket with Clovis and Las Cruces High, who meet at 3 p.m.
Portales is 6-6 over the past four years playing in the tournament, and beat Rio Rancho 32-21 in last season’s fifth-place game.
“We’ve been working to improve our man and zone defenses,” Stout said. “It is a game about fundamentals and we continue to work on fundamentals. The more you do that everything else starts to take care of itself.”
Stout said they have scouting reports on the teams in the tournament and they have a good idea of what teams are going to do against them.
Las Cruces High coach Matt Adney said he was tickled to have his team in the tournament because it provides a measuring stick for his squad.
The tournament, in its 11th year, is dedicated to Mel Otero, a hall of fame high school and college official in New Mexico by his son Tony Otero, Rio Rancho coach Patrick Puentes said.
Puentes said Carson was the inter-city league champion last season in California.
“The night cap is Roswell versus Gallup, and a lot of people are calling that the preview game of Class 4A state tournament,” Puentes said. “I have to say it’s one of the strongest field of teams this season, and we’ve always have a good field of teams. It is a tough field from top to bottom.”