Lady Rams close regular season with win

By Kevin Wilson

After seeing a five-week stretch without one, the Portales Lady Rams are treating losing like a distant memory.
A few minutes after a 48-27 win over Goddard Friday night, victory seemed a distant memory as well.
The Lady Rams came out flat and didn’t shoot well, but never appeared in jeopardy and pulled away from the Class 4A Lady Rockets in the second half.
Kassandra Richards led all scorers with 16 points for Portales (19-4, 6-0 district), which pushed its winning streak to eight games.
“We just talked about it and most of it’s just focus,” Portales coach Brenda Gomez said. “We weren’t focused in the beginning, and that’s what makes you shoot 27 percent.”
On the final night of the regular season, each team had an opening for the non-district game. Portales finished district play Tuesday and wouldn’t have played again until Friday’s district championship. Goddard (4-18) was the odd team out in the five-team District 4-4A.
Goddard coach Urbano Sosa thought his team was competitive in the first half, but couldn’t score enough to take advantage of an off-night for the Lady Rams. Both teams had scoreless stretches of at least four minutes during the first two quarters, and Portales led 15-8 at halftime.
“Our defense was good, and that kept us in the game early,” Sosa said. “(Gomez is) the best in the state when it comes to adjusting, and they adjusted in the second half.”
The Portales lead hovered around the 6-to-10-point range through most of the third, but a three-point play by Richards helped start a 15-2 run that pushed the lead to 20. Goddard could never challenge, as the Lady Rockets shot just 10-of-39 on the night.
“We had some good looks, but we weren’t very consistent,” Sosa said. “We were consistent at missing, that was for sure. The last time we played, they took us completely out of our offensive sets. I think that we did a better job of that tonight.”
Krissy Bowen led Goddard with 10 points. Nobody else reached double figures for either team, but Morgan Hill added nine and Erika Cook and Joni Brakebill had seven each for Portales.
Cook showed no ill effects of a quadricep injury late in Tuesday’s win over Ruidoso. The senior guard started and played 27 minutes.
The District 4-3A championship is set for 7 p.m. Friday night, with Portales hosting either Lovington or Ruidoso. Lovington defeated Ruidoso 57-47 Friday to earn homecourt advantage for Tuesday’s playoff game between those same two teams.
Friday’s winner will host a regional game the following week, and the loser must go on the road. The Lady Rams remember all too well losing District 4-3A title game to Lovington last year, and the tough road it created en route to the Class 3A title.
“Maybe a loss (tonight) would have been good,” Gomez said. “We need to play better.
“We’ll get some things straightened out. We’re competitive enough that we’re not going to come out to the next game like we did (tonight).”