By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
Only a handful of games separate the Portales Lady Rams from their goal of repeating as New Mexico Class 3A girls basketball champions.
Having already clinched a berth in the state tournament, the Lady Rams host the Ruidoso Lady Warriors tonight with a District 4-3A championship on the line.
“We focussed pretty hard and we’re ready to play,” Portales head coach Brenda Gomez said. “It’s been too long without a game, we’re excited.”
Senior Lady Ram Vicki Huber believes her team matches up well with Ruidoso.
“Our post game will be really big,” Huber said. “With Bethany (Self), and Kaycee (Quick) and Shyla (Carthel) we’re pretty big on the inside, and I don’t think they have the outside shooters that we have. I feel like we’re a lot quicker than them also.”
While the Portales girls have been quiet this week preparing for an opponent, the Lady Warriors have secured their spot in the state tournament as well, clinching at least runner-up status in district.
The Lady Rams defeated Ruidoso twice in the district regular season by near identical scores 55-39 at Portales in late January and 55-38 in the district finale at Ruidoso earlier this month.
Despite cruising through their district schedule unbeaten, Gomez is trying to keep the Portales girls intensity level high.
“We’ve practiced really hard and kind of finished off some spots that we needed to tune up on, and the kids are really excited to play a game now.”
“We know that we can have an upset, but we’re not going to let that happen,” Huber said.
The winner of tonight’s contest will host a state tournament first-round game, while the loser plays on the road.
“We’re ready,” Huber said. “Our practices have been really good and we’ve been ready for this game all year. We want this game.”