With Lovington averaging about 63 points a game during its five-game winning streak, Portales had to figure it would have a good chance to win holding the potent Wildcats to 44.
Turns out, the Lovington defense had something to say about that Tuesday night too, and the Wildcats left Portales with a 44-33 win at PHS gym to stay perfect in district.
Robert Hargrove scored a game-high 14 points to lead the a balanced Wildcats’ offense that was more than enough to top a Ram team that, after halftime, scored nine points and had eight turnovers.
“We give them one shot, get the rebound, go to the other end,” Lovington coach Stephen Bridgeforth tells his players. “We’re going to do everything this year on the defensive end first.”
The Rams (7-10, 0-2), started the game off hot with 5-of-6 shooting in the first quarter. But it was downhill from there, as Portales shot 8-of-28 the rest of the night and had just four offensive rebounds against 15 for Lovington.
Robert Perez, who added six for the Wildcats (16-3, 3-0 District 4-3A), scored on a third-chance putback with 3:28 left in the second quarter for a 20-17 lead, and Lovington pulled away to lead by as much as 14 in the fourth quarter.
“Our execution was not there, just in making simple plays,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “We made mistakes we shouldn’t be making.
“We threw passes right to them, we couldn’t attack their zone, we couldn’t attack their man.”
Jesse Blue scored 11 points to lead Portales, and Shawn Carrasco added 10.
Lovington, meanwhile, had seven players score and got their four 3-pointers on the night from four different shooters.
“When we can hit from the outside, that really opens things up,” Bridgeforth said. “They have to step out on defense.”
Portales is back in action Friday at Roswell. Due to last weekend’s weather cancellation against Ruidoso, Portales will have three district games next week — Tuesday at Dexter, and Thursday and Friday at home against Ruidoso and New Mexico Military Institute, respectively.