By Kevin Wilson
With both Portales teams hovering around .500 coming into this weekend’s Portales Ram Shootout, the aim is to get some wins to start momentum.
The teams coming in, however, provide little opportunity for either the girls or boys team to do just that.
The inaugural tournament, which includes three defending state champions, starts today at 3 p.m. with a junior varsity boys game between Bernalillo and Portales. A varsity match between those same teams will follow.
The Portales girls (6-7) cap off both nights, with 8 p.m. games against Kirtland Central today and Robertson on Saturday.
Right now, it’s a matter of being consistent, Portales girls coach Brenda Gomez said.
“We go to Clovis (Plateau Classic tournament) and play really well against two pretty good teams and then play at Carlsbad and don’t play as well,” Gomez said. “We’ve got to learn to not make the same mistakes over and over.”
The Lady Rams are trying to gain some momentum and confidence, but Gomez admits that a hard schedule — including this weekend’s games — doesn’t give the team much opportunity to get either.
Today’s game will be a match of defending state champions — Kirtland Central in 4A and Portales in 3A. Bernalillo, however, will give PHS its first taste of 3A competition this season.
“They’ve got everybody coming back and they were in the final four,” Gomez said. “They’ve got good ballhandlers, have good outside (shooters). We’re going to have to handle their pressure.
“That’s going to be the story of the year for us, how we handle the pressure.”
The Rams (6-5) played Bernalillo for fifth place in the Stu Clark Tournament and claimed an easy 52-37 win. However, rosters have changed for Portales and the 3A champion Spartans.
“We’ve already beat Bernalillo, but they’re going to come in with a little bit of revenge on their minds,” PHS boys coach Mark Gallegos said.
Gallegos said Bernalillo will also have guard Michael Ross, who transferred last semester from Grants but had to sit out for 90 days due to New Mexico Activities Association rules.
“He’s going to make a difference for them because he gives them a ballhandler, which they’re sorely missing,” Gallegos said.
Also, Portales will be without the services of post Jack Hale, who has a knee injury. Gallegos said that Hale would be re-evaluated this morning, but plans to keep him out for the tournament and the following week, when the Rams host Clovis and travel to Roswell.
At PHS gymnasium
3 p.m. — Portales vs. Bernalillo (JV boys)
4:30 p.m. — Portales vs. Bernalillo (varsity boys)
6 p.m. — Las Vegas Robertson vs. Hobbs (varsity girls)
8 p.m. — Portales vs. Kirtland Central (varsity girls)
3 p.m. — Portales vs. Artesia (JV boys)
4:30 p.m. — Kirtland Central vs. Hobbs (varsity girls)
6 p.m. — Portales vs. Artesia (varsity boys)
8 p.m. — Portales vs. Robertson (varsity girls)
Admission (per day): Students $3, adults $5