By Dave Wagner
When the Portales High basketball team plays at Los Lunas tonight, the Rams might think they’re seeing Roswell High again.
PHS begins a busy weekend with the 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Class 5A Los Lunas. On Saturday, Portales is scheduled for a varsity doubleheader at Moriarty, with the girls tipping off around 3:30 p.m. and the boys to follow.
The Rams (3-3) hosted Roswell last week, losing to the athletic Coyotes 66-60. PHS boys coach Mark Gallegos said Los Lunas (3-3) plays a similar style.
“Los Lunas is not real big, but they’re extremely athletic,” he said. “They’re very much like Roswell High, partly because (Tigers coach) Albert Aragon is a former assistant at Roswell High.
“Los Lunas doesn’t want to play a halfcourt game. We’re going to have to play smart — we can’t go up and down the court with them for 32 minutes.”
The Tigers have been involved in several blowouts, with four of their games — two wins and two losses — decided by at least 28 points. The game will be the last of a four-game homestand for Los Lunas.
Gallegos expects Moriarty (2-2) to play a 1-3-1 zone and try to force the Rams to beat them from the perimeter.
“They’re not extremely big, but their guards are big,” he said of the Class 4A Pintos. “They’ll be a little more deliberate and they’ll try to make us hit some outside jump shots.”
The PHS girls (3-5) will try to bounce back from Tuesday’s 54-48 loss at Roswell High, snapping their three-game winning streak. The Lady Coyotes won the game by sinking seven 3-pointers and 19-of-23 free throws.
“I was really pleased that we stepped up and they only got one 3 (after halftime,” Lady Rams coach Brenda Gomez said. “We played some man (defense) to stop their outside shooting, and that’s what we’ve got to do sometimes.”
It ended a stretch of five games in six nights, all away from home.
“They seem kind of excited to have practice,” Gomez said of her players. “It’s good that they want to go to practice, knowing they want to get better at what their doing.”
The Lady Pintos are off to a 4-1 start, although two of their wins have been by four points or less. Their lone loss came at the hands of Clovis 56-34 last Saturday.
Gomez said her team has gotten into a pretty good grove lately after an 0-4 start.
“If we play good and get a win, I’ll be really happy,” Gomez said. “We need to win.”