PORTALES — Between injuries and offensive woes, Portales had enough to worry about against any opponent.
Add in Texico, and it was a little too much.
Katlin Luscombe scored 12 points to lead a balanced effort, and the Class 2A power claimed its 12th straight with a 36-33 comeback victory.
Victoria Richards scored the go-ahead bucket with 1:14 to play, and Luscombe hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to play to complete a comeback from a 22-13 halftime deficit.
“I don’t know a lot of teams that come back from a nine-point deficit against (Portales coach) Clay Stout and win,” Texico coach Keith Durham said. “I was very proud of our girls.”
Texico held Portales (14-8) without a field goal for an 11-minute stretch in the second half, and slowly chipped away.
“Coach Durham came in (at halftime), he said we weren’t playing our game and we weren’t playing hard,” said Texico forward Jordyn Cooper, who scored nine points. “It was a challenge to us.”
The Rams had their own challenges, which were only highlighted against a Texico defense that makes opposing players fight through screens. Portales starters Ashley Hernandez (forearm) and Gabby Garcia (shoulder) both missed minutes after aggravating injuries. In each case, the Portales player ended up on the floor fighting through a screen.
And Portales was already playing without senior Jenna Wagner, who rolled her ankle in Monday’s practice. Sophomore Macy Mitchell had a game-high 17 for the Rams, who host Ruidoso Saturday to close out the regular season.
Stout noted that Portales currently has, by his last count, 17 injuries between seven players. But he didn’t want to take anything away from the Wolverines (19-5), who held Portales to four points in the fourth quarter.
“They do a good job on defense,” Stout said of Texico, where he served as an assistant under Durham three seasons ago. “They put a lot of pressure on you, and that only helps you (get better).”
Cooper and Durham said the win will give Texico needed momentum going into its final two district games — at home Friday against Clayton and Saturday at Santa Rosa.
“The reason we play Portales at this time of the year,” Durham said, “is it makes us better. And I hope we do the same for them.”