There’s only one thing Portales hated more than a week off from basketball — a season off from basketball. Suffice it to say, the Rams prevented the latter.
Senior guard Tara Johnson scored 19 of her game-high 21 in the first half as a well-rested Portales team wasted little time disposing of 15th-seeded Hatch Valley 60-17 Friday night.
Portales (18-10), which scored the game’s first 15 points and led by 34 at the half, will face West Las Vegas in a 9:45 a.m. Tuesday game at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Portales coach Clay Stout said his players were hungry after being off for a week and credits the boys junior varsity team for being scrimmage partners during the runup to the first-round game.
The result was an aggressive, unselfish team that ran on all cylinders.
“We told our girls if we got good ball movement, then we would be able to get some baskets,” Stout said. “These girls can shoot the ball; it is just sometimes they’re too unselfish. Sometimes they don’t look for the shots enough. Tonight they were sharing the ball, and looking for shots.”
Johnson was the only double-figure scorer on the night, as Jenna Wagner added eight points for Portales.
Senior Samantha Bustamante led the Bears (13-14) with six points and senior Amanda Adams add five.
Hatch Valley coach Brad Bailey said his team was in awe of being in the first round of state and playing Portales — and by the time they settled in, the Bears had 10 first-quarter turnovers and the Rams had the game well in hand.
“Portales as I knew coming in, executes well on both offense and defense,” Bailey said. “They are very sharp and very organized and don’t make many mistakes. The one thing I didn’t know was how good shooters they were.”