Portales beat Socorro by 26 points in January when the Warriors were at full strength.
The teams meet again today in a Class 3A quarterfinal contest at The Pit, only this time Socorro comes in as wounded Warriors.
Socorro will be without the services of its top big man, 6-foot-2 Busqez Baker, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament during district play.
“They lost their best big player, so we should have a sizable advantage over them,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said.
Gallegos expects Socorro (15-13) try extended its defense and try to use the whole court.
Socorro is coached by Hamilton Doyle, who was at West Las Vegas last year when the Dons knocked Portales out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals.
Portales junior guard Shawn Carrasco noted the irony.
“Last year we were all upset after losing to West Las Vegas,” he said. “He told us not to worry, that we’d be in the state championship next year. I think it is crazy that we are seeing him again in the same exact place.”
Dora takes on Des Moines
The Dora Coyotes are a perfect 17-0 against Class 1A teams in New Mexico so far this season. If they can stretch the stretch the streak to 20, the Coyotes will bring home their second state title in seven years.
Third-seeded Dora (23-5) squares off with No. 6 Des Moines (15-12) today in a quarterfinal game at Bernalillo High School.
The Coyotes feature one of the state’s leading scorers in sophomore post Lathan Lieb (23 ppg) and a sold support cast that includes guards Jeremy Butler (17 ppg) and Kyler Smith (14 ppg).
Des Moines counters with one of the states top gunners in 5-8 sophomore Jake Daugherty, who hit 12 3-pointers in a game this season.
Dora coach Ty Thatcher said the key is controlling the tempo.
“We need to execute our halfcourt sets and find a way to get the ball into Lieb,” Thatcher said. “If we can control the tempo, I feel we can be successful.”
Thatcher likes team’s chances, even though Cliff is considered the strong favorite.
“I’d have to gibe Cliff the nod,” Thatcher said. “They’re the defending champions, and until somebody beats them they have to be considered the team to beat.”
No. 3 Portales vs. No. 11 Socorro
When: 9:45 a.m.
Where: The Pit, University of New Mexico.
At stake: Advance to the final four.
Records: Portales 21-8. Socorro 15-13.
How they got here: Portales beat Crownpoint 71-35. Socorro beat Bloomfield 56-50.
Last meeting: Portales, 60-34 on Jan. 10
Notes: Portales is 3-0 against Socorro in the past three years.