By Dave Wagner
The basketball season begins in earnest this week for Portales High’s squads.
PHS is scheduled to travel to Muleshoe tonight for its only varsity doubleheader of the season, with the boys opening their campaign against the Mules. Then the Rams return to Texas later this week for the nine-school Shallowater Shootout, beginning on Thursday.
The Lady Rams (0-1), who lost at home to Class 5A Carlsbad 37-33 last week, are back in action on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. clash against rival Clovis at the PHS gym.
While the boys have played Muleshoe regularly in recent years, this is the first time the PHS girls have faced the Lady Mules (2-3), who’ve enjoyed some success lately in the Texas Class 3A playoffs.
“They’re very, very fast,” PHS girls coach Brenda Gomez said. “They like to push the ball up the floor and press. We just basically have to take care of the ball.”
Turnovers were a problem against the Cavegirls, who compete in District 4-5A with Clovis.
The Lady Wildcats, who play Hereford (Texas) tonight, opened their season last week with an 85-31 rout of Lovington, like Portales a member of District 4-3A.
Gomez, in her 19th season at the helm, said this is the first year the two-time defending Class 3A state champion Lady Rams haven’t had an outside scrimmage before their opener.
“We showed some inexperience last week,” she said. “Basically I told (the players) I expect a lot from them, I don’t care what grade they’re in.
“The kids and I talked and I said, ‘We’re not used to losing — and we’d better not get used to it,’ I just know we’re not going to make the same mistakes (tonight) that we made the other night.”
PHS boys coach Mark Gallegos said Muleshoe’s size is a concern. The Mules (0-1), who got a bit of a late start after going a couple of rounds in the Texas football playoffs, dropped their season opener last week to Lubbock Trinity Christian.
“They’re big and physical,” he said. “If we don’t keep them off the glass, especially the offensive board, it could be a long night.”
The Rams take on Littlefield in the opener of the Shallowater tournament at 1 p.m. (MST) on Thursday. Portales, the only non-Texas team in the mostly Class 2A-3A event, has participated in the tournament for the past several years.
“We enjoy going up there because you get a chance to find out where you’re at,” Gallegos said.
At Shallowater, Texas
All Times MST
Thursday play-in game
Hale Center vs. Muleshoe, 7 a.m.
Lubbock Trinity Christian vs. Olton, 10 a.m.
Portales vs. Littlefield, 1 p.m.
Lorenzo vs. Tulia, 4 p.m.
Hale Center-Muleshoe winner vs. Shallowater, 7 p.m.
Friday’s consolation semifinals
Hale Center-Muleshoe loser vs. Trinity Christian-Olton loser, 7 a.m.
Lorenzo-Tulia loser vs. Hale Center-Muleshoe/Shallowater loser, 10 a.m.
Hale Center-Muleshoe/Trinity Christian-Olton winner vs. Portales-Littlefield loser, 5 p.m.
Friday’s championship semifinals
Trinity Christian-Olton winner vs. Portales-Littlefield winner, 1 p.m.
Lorenzo-Tulia winner vs. Hale Center-Muleshoe/Shallowater winner, 7 p.m.
Consolation championship, 1 p.m.
Third place, 4 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.