Alamogordo first-year girls basketball coach Bill Stockton didn’t have to look around long on Tuesday for personal ties to the gym where his Tigers had just squeaked by Portales 48-44 in overtime.
After his team won a semifinal contest of the Plateau Wireless Classic in Clovis, Stockton pointed out a pair of boys basketball state championship banners (1951, 1953) hanging at Rock Staubus gymnasium. His father, also named Bill Stockton, was the coach for those teams at Clovis High.
As for the younger Bill Stockton, he could breathe a sigh of relief knowing his team had survived a test from a school also close to himself and his family.
“Any time you play Portales, they’re a well-coached basketball team,” said Stockton, who played at Portales High in the late 1970s and whose step-mother (Brenda Stockton) was the Rams’ volleyball coach for many years. “He (Clay Stout) does a great job and you know they’re never going to quit.”
Alamogordo (9-2) dominated the first quarter of play, holding Portales (4-5) without a field goal, in pulling out to a 13-1 lead.
The Tigers got 12 points from Brandi Tanner and nine each from Jamie Harris and Samantha Dodson.
The Rams, however, began to get scoring opportunities by entry passes into frosh post player Macy Mitchell — her team’s leading scorer with 11. When Tara Johnson banked in a buzzer-beating trey at the end of the third quarter, slicing Alamogordo’s lead to 33-31.
The Tigers had a 43-39 advantage when Harris pumped in a three with 1:33 left in the game. That was the same margin with only nine seconds left when Portales’ Dallas Russell hit a pair of free throws.
After an Alamo miss from the charity stripe on the other end, Russell raced down the right side of the court and banked in a 12-footer as the clock expired to send the game into overtime.
“I expected a dogfight. The way it started was a complete surprise to me,” Stockton said.
In the extra period, Tigers’ senior Savannah Stockton started the scoring with a 3-pointer and that’s all Alamogordo would ultimately need as Portales could only manage a single free throw from Mitchell in the four-minute OT.
The Rams hit only one of three shots from the free throw line in overtime, but that paled in comparison to a five-minute stretch late in regulation when Portales missed nine consecutive shots from the line.
“It wasn’t anything with our shooting form or anything like that. We usually knock them down,” said Stout, whose team also got 10 points apiece from Russell and Jenna Wagner. “I just told the girls that they were doing the right things to get to the free throw line.
“Some games, they just don’t go in,” he added.