By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
Though some may contend they got a lot in the second half, the Portales girls basketball team has earned its rest.
The host Lady Rams put the game on ice quick with a 21-5 first quarter and survived a sluggish second-half effort to beat Moriarty 51-37 Saturday night.
Portales (6-4) finished 2-1 in a back-to-back-to-back, which included an easy win against Goddard and a 42-41 loss at Hobbs Friday night.
Morgan Hill scored 18 to lead Portales, which is off until the Clovis Classic Dec. 28, where it will open bracket play against El Paso Esleta.
Briana Hernandez added 10 and Megan Kabrick eight for Portales.
Despite a loss to Hobbs in the final few minutes Friday and a so-so second half, the Lady Ram players still felt the weekend was a good experience.
“This weekend, we wanted to build our momentum and we did that against Goddard and Hobbs,” said senior Rebekah Gonzales. “This game wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. It’s good momentum to take us to the Clovis tournament.”
Moriarty (4-2) scored first on a free throw, but never led after a driving layup by Ashleah Richards 23 seconds into the game. Portales led by 20 with 4:49 left in the second quarter on a putback by Hill.
“Their inside game really hurt us,” Moriarty coach Joe Bailey said. “A coaching adjustment should have been made sooner, but we played like we weren’t sure we belonged here.”
Portales spent most of the second half protecting its lead, sizable enough to hold off a 23-17 second-half effort from the Pintos.
“I think the first quarter was good,” Portales coach Brenda Gomez said. “That was about all. I think we got pretty complacent about everything (after that). Maybe (with) the three games we were tired and some shots weren’t falling in the second half.”
Kristen Valencia and Brandi Valencia each scored 10 to lead Moriarty, which hosts Highland Monday.
Bailey felt the Pintos played much better starting midway through the second quarter, but Portales did more than enough in the first 12 minutes to win the game.
“They did it to us,” Bailey said. “They’re a veteran team and they played like a veteran team.”
In the junior varsity game, Portales defeated Moriarty 42-35.