Portales prepares to test Clovis

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

Clovis High girls basketball coach Miles Watters expects the Lady Wildcats to get their first test of the season tonight.
The defending Class 5A state champions, winners of 31 in a row and 39 of their last 40, travel south for a 7 p.m. contest against rival Portales, the defending Class 3A runnerup.

“They can get out and defend you in their 1-3-1 zone,” said Watters, whose team crushed Roswell Goddard 68-35 in its opener on Tuesday at Rock Staubus Gym. “They’re a team that’s hard to score against.”

Portales (2-0) has played in five consecutive 3A title games, winning titles in 2001, 2003 and 2004. The Lady Rams, who have beaten Carlsbad and Muleshoe so far, return most of their team from a year ago, led by 6-foot-1 post Morgan Hill and 5-10 forward Megan Kabrick, both seniors.

Hill scored 18 points and Kabrick added 12 in Tuesday’s 54-26 win over the Lady Mules.

“I was happier with our second game than the first,” Portales coach Brenda Gomez said. “If we just keep improving, by the time March comes along I think everything will be great.”

An upset of the Lady Cats would be a big step.

“We’re going to try our hardest to make it happen,” Gomez said. “I feel like our kids are up for the challenge. We’re just going to go out and play hard and see what happens.”

Portales should be able to match up with Clovis in terms of size.

“Megan and Morgan are two of the best posts in the state,” Watters said. “Megan can step out and shoot the 3, and Morgan is a good defensive player.”

Gomez said she just wants her team to be able to compete.
“I think we can match up with them pretty well,” she said. “Everybody has accepted their roles this year, and they’re playing hard.”

The teams could meet twice more this season, with Portales competing in the Lady Cats’ Plateau Classic tournament scheduled Dec. 28-30 and then returning to Clovis for a regular-season matchup on Jan. 17.