By Kevin Wilson
Portales coach Brenda Gomez had long-term and short-term reasons to be happy Saturday evening.
In the short term, the weekend scrimmage featuring 12 teams went off with very few problems. For the long-term, Gomez’ 19th season leading the Portales girls is shaping up to be a good one.
The 2004 Class 3A runnerup was an easy choice to be strong again, having only graduated two players. With basically the same team, Gomez felt that the team is much farther along than it was the previous season.
“I’m really happy with the way they’ve played,” Gomez said. “I didn’t expecte them to be this much better.”
Portales played host over the weekend to a scrimmage session, including six junior varsity teams and six varsity teams (one varsity team was made up of former Portales players to balance the schedule out).
All teams got eight games over the two days.
“It’s going good,” Gomez said before her team’s final game. “The officiating has been good. The (tournament) hasn’t cost us a lot of money. Everybody’s learning a bit.”
The Lady Rams have also played at a summer league in Texico and a similar scrimmage session in Hobbs, Gomez said.
Portales returns a team with a trio of three-year starters — Ashleah Richards, Megan Kabrick and Morgan Hill. Hill was the only one of the three not playing during the weekend, as a shoulder injury relegated her to scorekeeping duties.
Also back in the fold will be guard Briana Hernandez. Hernandez said the team struggled at times through the weekend, but never had serious problems. She expects the Lady Rams to reach the state title game for the sixth time in six years, and win for the fourth time in that stretch.
She feels the team is off to a good start over the summer.
“We’ve got pretty much everything down. We just need a little bit (of fine-tuning).”
Gomez said that several junior varsity players had made significant strides over the summer, including Vickie Huber and Kaycee Quick.
Portales will be playing in the girls team camp at Eastern New Mexico University, with the girls session beginning June 22.