Roswell hangs on late, deals Rams 66-60 loss

By Dave Wagner

Even if you force 26 turnovers, it’s hard to beat a team that shoots 65 percent.
The Portales High Rams got off to a fast start Tuesday night, struggled in the middle two quarters and saw their late rally fall short in a 66-60 loss to Roswell High in their home opener at the PHS gym.
Portales closed a 13-point deficit late in the third quarter to 63-60 on Daniel Aranda’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. But junior guard Clarence Cheadle hit two free throws on the next trip down to put the game out of reach.
“We made it more interesting than I wanted to,” Roswell High coach Britt Cooper said. “We didn’t shoot free throws well (13-of-28), but Clarence hit the two big ones at the end.
“We’re young; we’ve only got four seniors out here. But I think when we come around, we could be a pretty good team.”
Junior guard Lucas Gallegos led the Coyotes (2-0) with 17 points, while senior center A.K. Dennis added 13 and Cheadle 10. The Rams (2-3), playing their fifth game in eight nights, also put three players in double figures — senior guard Chris Carter with 18 and senior post Jack Hale and Aranda with 11 apiece.
“We made a great run defensively at the end, but there were stretches there where we couldn’t get any stops,” PHS coach Mark Gallegos said. “But this team doesn’t believe in letting up; they believe you have to find a way to win, and we’re starting to find that attitude.”
The Rams got out of the blocks quickly, hitting five of their first six shots from the field in building an 11-4 lead after four minutes. But they got only Chris Adkins’ 3-point play the rest of the period, and two baskets by Gallegos in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter capped a 15-3 run that put Roswell in front 19-14.
“When we have the lead, we have to vaule each possession,” Gallegos said. “We got a little frantic at times there. We didn’t do a good job of managing the game (with the lead).”
Portales stayed in striking range for the rest of the half, but fell behind 44-31 early in the third quarter. Roswell led twice more by 13, the last at 54-41, before Aranda’s 3-pointer late in the period started the comeback.
Roswell made its only three field goal attempts of the final period, staying ahead with just enough free throws despite committing eight turnovers. Fouls caught up to the Rams late, with senior Chris Kirchner and junior Daniel Boan going out on fouls and three others finishing with four personals.
The Rams shot 42 percent on 22-of-52, but struggled from long range (2-for-14 on 3-pointers) and committed 25 turnovers as the Coyotes’ athleticism bothered them at times.
“I thought we got the ball inside real good,” Cooper said. “I thought we caused a lot of turnovers early, but as the game went on Portales handled our press better.”
Kirchner led the Rams in rebounds with seven, while junior Tyler Johnson had three of the team’s 10 assists.

Roswell High 66, Portales 60
Roswell High (2-0) —
Steven Brandt 0 0-0 0, Nick Espinoza 2 2-4 7, Lucas Gallegos 7 3-8 17, Trevis Reese 3 0-0 6, Josh Williams 1 0-1 2, Aaron Farmer 2 0-0 4, Bryant Thomas 0 0-0 0, Clarence Cheadle 2 6-10 10, Jonathan Hamlet 3 1-1 7, A.K. Dennis 6 1-4 13. Totals 26-40 13-28 66.
Portales (2-3) — Cruz Ontiveros 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Aranda 4-11 1-2 11, Chris Kirchner 4-11 3-4 11, Trevor Ferguson 0-3 0-0 0, Chris Adkins 2-3 1-1 5, Daniel Boan 0-0 2-4 2, Chris Carter 6-13 6-6 18, Tyler Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Jack Hale 5-8 1-3 11, Chris Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 14-20 60.
Roswell High 15 21 18 12 — 66
Portales 14 14 16 16 — 60
3-pointers —
Roswell High 1-4 (Espinoza), Portales 2-14 (Aranda 2-5, Adkins 0-1, Carter 0-3, Kirchner 0-5). Rebounds — Roswell High 27, Portales 24. Assists — Roswell High n/a, Portales 10 (Johnson 3). Total fouls — Roswell High 24, Portales 27. Fouled out — Kirchner, Boan. JV score — Roswell High 60, Portales 50.