Portales claims fifth at Hope Christian
Published: Saturday, January 19th, 2008
The Portales boys basketball team has its sights firmly set on Tuesday’s district opener against New Mexico Military Institute. But the Rams had to look around a 6-foot, 8-inch obstacle on Saturday before the 4-3A slate begins. Rehoboth junior center Joshua Holwerda was only a temporary impediment for Portales (7-7), which defeated the Lynx 57-48 to capture fifth-place in the Hope Christian tournament. In Albuquerque, the Rams’ only deficit came when Rehoboth (9-4) scored the first point of the contest. Portales’ advantage was still only scant — a 42-39 lead midway through the fourth quarter — when Rams’ sophomore Marcus Slocum converted on a baseline drive to the hoop. Portales senior Chris Mosier followed that with a score and, following a Rehoboth free throw, the Rams then ran off nine straight points to open a 15-point bulge with less than a minute to play. “We mostly did what we had to do, trying to keep (Holwerda) off the boards,” said Slocum, who finished with 20 points to lead all scorers. Russell Kamps led Rehoboth with 15 points. While Holwerda did grab 12 rebounds, the tall Lynx post player was held to nine in the scoring column. “I knew they were pretty scrappy and their big kid was pretty good,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “I think what people don’t understand is that he (Lynx coach Kevin Zwiers) has a pretty good supporting cast. They play as good of fundamental man defense as we’ve faced all year — and we’ve faced some good man teams.” Guard Nick Bliss and Slocum, in particular, were able to find the seams in the Rehoboth defense. In one 8-2 run for Portales in the third quarter, Bliss twice drove into the teeth of the Lynx defense for baskets as part of his 15 points. Slocum, meanwhile, did his scoring near the basket despite Holwerda’s presence and frequently grabbed offensive rebounds to convert teammate’s misses. “That’s our big deal. We’ve got to get him the basketball as much as we can within the offense,” Gallegos said of Slocum, who was selected to the all-tournament team. “Nick and Chris look for him quite a bit and I thought we did a good job. Then, he also got some easy buckets off stickbacks and stuff like that.” Mosier contributed 10 points to the Portales offensive effort. The only downside of the Rams’ day at the Hope Christian gym was when Portales’ 6-foot-3 junior Billy Good twisted an ankle near the end of the first period. Despite the questionable status of Good, who was helped off the court by a pair of teammates at game’s end, the Rams’ contingent was already looking forward to its road trip to Roswell in three days. “We’re trying to do something in Portales that’s never been done and that’s win four district championships in a row. We start that Tuesday night at New Mexico Military Institute,” Gallegos said. “I think we’re going to be ready. We’re going to come out hard,” Slocum said.
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