Both Portales and Friona played physical throughout the night, but the host Rams started going for the basket in the second half.
That was the difference for Portales, as the host Rams beat Friona 57-52 to break a two-game skid.
The momentum of the game began to swing into Friona’s favor late in the third, as they trailed by just six.
Portales coach Mark Gallegos knew the Chieftains were going to be playing a physical squad.
“When you play a team like Friona,” Gallegos said. “They want to make it a half-court game and they want to turn it into a physical game. In the first half we did some things that were uncharacteristic.”
After taking a 22-20 halftime lead, Portales came out playing more aggressive in the second half and fed the ball to Marcus Slocum.
Slocum finished the night with 24 points. Billy Good had 15 points and Nick Bliss had 10 points.
“We know that if we get the ball inside, that opens everything else up,” Gallegos said. “We didn’t look to go on the inside in the first half. Defensively we are still making way too many mistakes.”
Portales has lost leads on opponents in the last five games, Gallegos said.
“I like the way we responded in the third quarter and most of the way in the fourth,” Gallegos said. “I was little in a way defensively on how we let them come back, but with those we can fix with more practice time.
Portales girls 41, Friona 22
The Rams got off to a sluggish start against Friona, but jumped to a nine-point lead at the half and held on to beat the visiting Squaws.
Macy Mitchell scored 14 points, and Tara Johnson finished with nine points.
“It seems like we were a little flat,” Portales coach Clay Stout said. “The longer the game went on we finally got into a rhythm. We had a lot trouble moving our feet and we finally started having better ball movement.”