Girls take the court in state first-round

By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer

It’s ladies night in the New Mexico state basketball tournament with the Portales and Elida girls both hitting the court this evening in first-round play.

As the top seed in the Class 3A brackets, the Lady Rams (15-9) host the 16th-seeded Cobre Lady Indians (12-13) at the Portales High School gym at 7 p.m.

Having clinched the top district seed in late January, the Lady Rams have played just a couple of meaningful games in the last month and Portales head coach Brenda Gomez says her girls are ready to play.”

“It’s been so long for us without a game, that it’s to the point that if we don’t get a game soon, we’re going to hurt each other,” Gomez laughed.

Gomez also knows a bottom-ranked team like Cobre can be dangerous
.“No. 16 doesn’t have anything to lose,” Gomez said. “They’re expected to lose so they just have to go out there and play, while we’re looking to prove that they were correct in seeding us No. 1 and we just have to play to our potential.”

The Portales girls earned the home first-round game by defeating Ruidoso in the District 4-3A championship game last weekend.

The winner of tonight’s game moves to the 3A quarterfinals next week in Albuquerque against either No. 8 Laguna Acoma or No. 9 Ruidoso.

Meanwhile, the Elida girls don’t have the luxury of a home-cooked meal or the comfort of their own bed. The Lady Tigers (21-4) are on the road to play Tohajilee (16-3) at 6 p.m. tonight in the Class 1A state first-round.

According to Elida head coach Dan Howard, the Lady Tigers may have a notable size advantage over the Lady Warriors.

“All I know is that they are short and quick and they like to shoot the three (pointer),” Howard said.

“I just want (our girls) to come out aggressive and be ready to fire,” Howard continued. “We’ll either step up and play or we’ll play scared, one of the two.

Portales High School will be pre-selling tickets for tonight’s girls game as well as Saturday night’s boys game for $5 each at the school’s main office. A special gate will be open at both games for those ticket-holders.