By Kevin Wilson
Portales beat Roswell at its own game, but only for about four minutes.
Otherwise, visiting Roswell was in control most of the night en route a 68-57 win Thursday night at Ram Gym.
Roswell (11-3) won its sixth-straight, leading by as much as 19 points early in the fourth. Portales guard Chris Carter score 10 of his game-high 22 points in a 13-2 late run, but a 59-40 lead was too much for the Rams to overcome in the game’s final 5:15.
“I think that our pressure and the depth of our bench wore them down a bit,” Roswell coach Britt Cooper said. “I wish we closed it out better, but that’s a credit to Portales.”
The late rally, which got Portales (5-10) within single digits, was about the only positive Ram coach Mark Gallegos felt his team could take out of a game that the Coyotes controlled throughout.
“I just think that their depth, pressing-wise, it dictated the tempo,” Gallegos said. “They used the press to get into a full-court game and we played the full-court game.
“We’re letting the opposition dictate what we’re going to do, and that used to be a strength of our program.”
O’Shay Washington had 16 to lead four in double figures for Roswell. Lee Lamontine scored eight of his 10 in the first half, when the Coyotes used their inside advantage and limited second-chance opportunities for Portales.
Roswell went on a 10-2 run to open the third quarter, pushing a 33-26 halftime advantage to a 43-28 lead. Portales never got closer than eight after that point.
Figo Lucero (12 points) and Clarence Cheadle (10) each took advantage at the free-throw line to post double-figure totals for the Coyotes.
Bo Gabriel added 11 for Portales.
Gallegos expects District 4-3A opponents Lovington and Ruidoso to play the same type of up-tempo game against the Rams. Ditto for Goddard, which visits Portales Monday night.
“Monday night will be a prime example. Goddard wants to play 94 feet for 32 minutes,” Gallegos said. “Contrary to what everybody thinks, that’s not our game.”
Notes: The junior varsity game saw Roswell win 25-21, a contrast to a 61-30 Roswell victory earlier in the season. Junior varsity coach Rick Apodaca said the team focused on limiting Roswell’s transition, even going as far as to send four players back on defense during free throws. … Monday night is junior high night for Portales, as the PJHS teams will be introduced in a ceremony.