When your opponent is shooting better than you, the best way to win is to shoot more times than they do.
Hobbs did that early from the field, and repeated it from the free-throw line late in 45-39 victory Saturday night at Portales.
Jayde Burnell had 14 points to lead theEagles, who shot 29 percent on the night but did just enough to hold off a thin Portales squad.
The Eagles (4-1) never trailed, but had some scares in nearly losing a pair of double-figure leads as Portales — even without senior post Jenna Wagner, out on a college visit to Metropolitan State — pounded the ball inside.
“We ran out of posts,” veteran Hobbs coach Johnny Casaus said. “We had two posts foul out and had another one in foul trouble.”
Things got so thin inside for Hobbs that freshman point guard Mackenzie Latimer had to play second-half defense against Portales sophomore Macy Mitchell, who carried the load with a game-high 18 points.
It didn’t look early like Hobbs would need to sweat out a win over Portales, who had a first quarter to forget following a two-week layoff since its season-opening win at Friona.
In 10 first-quarter possessions against the Eagles’ trapping defense, Portales (1-1) had three turnovers, an 0-for-4 performance from the field and a 15-5 deficit.
“I thought the girls stepped up inside when we needed to,” Portales coach Clay Stout said, “but we were a little rusty starting out.”
The second quarter started with a 10-0 Portales run to tie matters up, as the Rams seemed to calm down and find passing lanes to Mitchell and Garcia, who had 10 points with an 8-of-14 night at the free-throw line.
“Hobbs wants you to play in a frenzy,” Stout said. “Once we slowed down and showed them where the open spots were, they settled down and started playing better.”
Summer Patterson responded to the run with a 3-pointer, and Hobbs never trailed again.
The teams combined for 58 free throws on the game. Portales was 19-of-31, while the Eagles went 16-of-27 and didn’t attempt a field goal after the 5:00 mark, when Burnell scored off a Portales turnover for a 36-30 lead.
After that point, the scoring came from just two Mitchell baskets and 24 combined free-throw attempts.
Hobbs finished 11-of-38 on the night, while Portales was 10-of-26 without a 3-pointer.
Both teams are off until tournament openers Thursday. The Eagles face Albuquerque High at the Alamogordo Invitational, while Portales faces Montrose, Colo. in the Mel Otero Invitational in Rio Rancho.