By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
Portales didn’t play the way it wanted to in a few stretches of the game. Briana Hernandez did, though, and that was more than enough to beat visiting Ruidoso.
Hernandez scored all of her game-high 25 points in the first three quarters, at one point outscoring the visiting Lady Warriors by herself, and Portales started and finished strong in a 68-28 thrashing of Ruidoso Tuesday night.
Portales (14-6, 2-0 district) started strong, with Hernandez scoring 10 of the game’s first 16 points, but the Lady Rams didn’t put the finishing touches on Ruidoso until midway through the second half.
There were some stretches that were long stretches with no defense, too many turnovers,” Portales coach Brenda Gomez said. “We picked it up on defense (in the second half). We were more aggressive and it made our offense work.”
The offense worked throughout the night for Hernandez, who was 4-of-6 from the 3-point line and 7-of-7 on free throws.
“I just played the way I know I can play,” Hernandez said. “Usually, I don’t play that way, but tonight I did.”
Morgan Hill added 13 points, Bethany Self 12 and Megan Kabrick nine for Portales.
Hernandez started the second quarter off with a 3-point play to give Portales a 24-11 lead, then scored five points in a 10-0 run early in the third to break the game open against Ruidoso (7-14, 0-1).
Hernandez hit a pair of free throws to give Portales a 20-point lead with 5:09 to play (42-22), and her final points came on a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter to give Portales a 30-point lead (54-24).
Hernandez didn’t attempt another shot after that point, but her team hit its first six field goal attempts in the fourth to put the finishing touches on the rout.
Ruidoso coach Becky Austin said her team played well in stretches and learned a lot from the matchup, but conceded that the Lady Warriors were just overmatched.
“We did the best we could,” Austin said. “Portales has a really good team. They do a lot of the right things, and we’re young.”
Though the team didn’t dominate from start to finish, Hernandez felt that in the big picture, Portales did exactly what it needed to do.
“We kept on them and kept our turnovers down,” Hernandez said, “and we just played our game.”
Portales stays home for a Friday matchup with Roswell.
In the junior varsity contest, Portales beat Ruidoso 56-32.
Tucumcari 55, Portales 48
TUCUMCARI — Nathan McDonald scored 18 and Drew White added 17, helping the 2A Rattlers post an upset win over the visiting Rams.
Portales coach Mark Gallegos thought he and the Rams might have been a little overconfident after a road win at Carlsbad, and said he didn’t plan adequately for White on the interior.
“We weren’t ready to play, and I’m responsible for that,” Gallegos said. “We didn’t have a very good game plan.”
Tucumcari only led 26-22 at the half, but held off several Portales rallies.
Daniel Aranda led the Rams with 12 points, while Daniel Boan and Chris Adkins each added eight.
Portales has little turnaround time with a Thursday matchup against Class 4A Roswell High.
“That will be a good test to see how we handle the adversity,” Gallegos said.