The Portales Lady Rams face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament.
Portales (18-10), seeded second, beat West Las Vegas 38-22 last year in a first-round matchup and will look to do it again when the teams meet today at The Pit in Albuquerque.
The No. 7 Lady Dons (21-10) will field virtually the same team as last year in today’s contest at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Portales coach Clay Stout said West Las Vegas is athletic and prefers an up-tempo full court game.
“They love to shoot and work on pressuring defenses,” Stout said. “Their point guard, senior Kristen Encinias, is one of the keys to their offense. She shoots threes and penetrates the defense. It’s not that we are going to block her out, but we have to make sure we are containing her because she make things happen.”
West Las Vegas, which finished second to top-seeded Pojoaque in District 2-3A, also features a pair of young post players in 5-foot-11 sophomore Vanessa Lucero and 5-11 freshman Michelle Montano.
“They have some players who can shoot threes really well,” Stout said. “They have good perimeter people who can play. We hopefully can take away some of the things they like to do and make them go to different options for offense.”
West Las Vegas coach Jose Medina said Portales is a well-coached team with a lot patience.
“They’re a veteran ball club and we’re going to have to play hard against them,” Medina said. “We’re still a young ballclub, we only have two seniors, but all the girls I have back this year played against Portales last year.
“I believe we got some valuable experience from that and, hopefully, we can learn from it and carry it into (today’s) game.”
Portales, which routed No. 15 Hatch Valley 60-17 in Friday’s first-round matchup, takes a seven-game winning streak into today’s game.
“I think we got better shooting the ball, and understanding our offenses,” Stout said. “I think we got better in a lot of little areas that started showing up as bigger things. We played an awful tough schedule to prepare us for the playoffs.”
Portales had its streak of seven-straight state title game appearance — it won four of them — snapped last season with a 41-35 loss to Santa Fe Indian in the quarterfinals.
Senior Tara Johnson, who scored 21 points in Friday’s win over Hatch Valley, suffered a serious knee injury in the first-round matchup with West Las Vegas.
“We played a really good team without Tara, (and) we missed her leadership,” Stout said. “I felt like we were the best team playing last year until Tara got hurt. In two days, you can’t recoup from losing your leading scorer and point guard.”
No. 7 West Las Vegas at No. 2 Portales
When: 11:30 a.m. today
Where: The Pit, University of New Mexico
At stake: Winner advances to state semifinals.
Records: West Las Vegas 21-10, Portales 18-10
How they got here: Portales beat Hatch Valley 60-17 in first round. West Las Vegas beat Ruidoso 58-48.
Last meeting: Portales beat West Las Vegas 38-22, 2008 state playoffs
By the numbers: West Las Vegas scored 50 points or more in 22 games.
New Mexico state basketball tournament
At The Pit, Albuquerque
(8) Socorro vs. (1) Pojoaque, 6:30 p.m.
(4) St. Michael’s vs. (12) Santa Fe Indian, 3 p.m.
(11) Las Vegas Robertson vs. (3) Lovington, 8 p.m.
(2) Portales vs. (7) West Las Vegas, 11:30 a.m.