LOVINGTON — It took just one night for the Portales Rams to drop from first to third in the District 4-3A standings.
The Rams lost their first district game at Lovington Friday night 71-55, but Portales coach Mark Gallegos felt it was one of the team’s better efforts.
“The game was a lot closer than the score shows,” Gallegos said. “We’re 1-1, Lovington’s 1-1. (New Mexico Military Institute is) 2-0, but we get them here. We’ve got our next three district games at home, and that helps us a lot.”
Portales (6-12, 1-1) has a four-game homestand, beginning Friday against NMMI. The Rams will also host Ruidoso (Feb. 10) and Lovington (Feb. 13), before finishing up with a Feb. 16 non-district game against Artesia.
The Rams went into the locker room with a 27-27 tie at the half and trailed by only six points in the final five minutes.
Portales got season-high scoring totals from junior guard Chris Kirchner and senior forward Russell Knudson with 16 points each, with Nathan Brown adding 10 and Seth Clabaugh eight.
“He moved better than he’s moved since he got hurt,” Gallegos said of Knudson. “He’s getting a little more confidence and his knees are getting stronger.”
Tydree Lewis led Lovington (17-4) with 24 points, while Jarred Swinson added 15 and Jawaan Payne 14.