By Mickey Winfield Freedom newspapers
The Portales Lady Rams may have grown up Thursday night.
The Portales girls outscored Roswell High 14-2 in the third quarter, overcoming a 12-point half time deficit and the loss of senior Briana Hernandez early in the game, to shock the top-ranked 4A Roswell Lady Coyotes at Portales High School 36-33.
“I really thought that that’s the first time all year, that they thought they were going to win it,” Portales head coach Brenda Gomez said. “They thought, ‘We’re down, but we’re going to win it and we’re going to take charge.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
As the third quarter drew to a close, senior shooting guard Sabrina Villanueva knocked down a 3-pointer to bring Portales to within 3 points, followed by junior Bethany Self’s trey to tie the game at 27, heading into the fourth.
“Beth is a good shooter,” Gomez said. “We’re so happy that she’s got some confidence now against a good team like that. She can shoot outside, she’s a very good shooter outside it’s just that she hasn’t had that much experience out there yet.”
The home team kept momentum on their side as the final quarter began, opening with Tara Johnson and Kaycee Quick baskets that gave the Portales girls their first lead of the game, 31-27.
Future Eastern New Mexico University Zia, Roswell senior Samantha Matta led all scorers with 13 points, while Self led Portales with 11 points, followed by Johnson with 10 and Quick with 8 points in the paint.
Despite the 12-point deficit at the half and the loss of their best outside threat, the Lady Rams didn’t panic.
“We just had to be confident in ourselves,” senior Amanda Terry said. “We knew we had mismatches down at the post, so we just had to keep feeding it into them and be confident.”
Hernandez went down hard on the court in a fight for a rebound in the first quarter and was taken to Roosevelt General Hospital with an apparent dislocation of her left shoulder.
Gomez said she expects Hernandez could be back in a week to two weeks.
The Lady Rams (7-7) host the Goddard Lady Rockets on Saturday before traveling to Clovis on Tuesday.