Rams’ new head coach excited by opportunity

When Mark Gallegos took the job as athletic director at Portales High, Rickie McBroom was the right man for the job Gallegos left behind. As it turns out, it's the right job for the man, too.

CMI correspondent: Joshua LuceroPortales senior guard Jacob Aranda, right, works against senior forward Zach Blaeser during the Rams' practice on Monday. Portales opens the 2012-13 season under first-year coach Rickie McBroom on Friday against Roswell High at the RAC.

"I think it's a great opportunity," McBroom said of being the Rams' new basketball coach. "To be honest, if it wasn't the Portales job, I wouldn't have done it. I grew up in Portales, graduated (in 1976) from Portales. I've been teaching for 33 years and I see this as a good way to end my career."

Portales opens its 2012-13 season on Friday against Roswell High at the Ram Athletic Center.

McBroom had been an assistant to Gallegos for the past six years and his first squad as head coach will be one coming off a 12-17 campaign. Last year's Rams team made it to the first round of the Class 3A tournament, where it lost to Shiprock.

Much of that roster, including four with starting experience, return for Portales.

In the paint, the Rams will look for production from 6-foot-2 senior post Emilio Baca as well as fellow seniors Reyes Calbert and Daniel Hernandez. Though not as tall as Baca, the 5-10 Calbert is "extremely strong and efficient around the basket," according to McBroom.

The new coach will also utilize juniors Zach Campbell and Daniel Sanchez inside, though Sanchez is also a good shooter from the perimeter.

The guards include returning starter Zach Blaeser, who may be the team's best defensive player.

McBroom expects junior Jarret Faust and sophomore Matt Martinez to share the point guard duties. Martinez also catches for the Portales baseball team and finished out the football season as the Rams' quarterback.

Outside shooting will come from the likes of junior guards Nathan Chavez and Isaiah Alvarado. According to the coach, balance may be one of Portales' strongest suits entering the new campaign.

"Overall, we've got some team size," McBroom said. "We"re not huge, but we're not small. We're real excited for the season to start."

McBroom also expects to keep much of the system of former coach Gallegos in place, but to add some of his own twists. Prior to moving back to Portales, McBroom had a stint as the Lordsburg boys basketball coach.

"We're going to play a little bit different," he said. "I'll incorporate some of the things I did when coaching at other places.

"We'll push the ball more and (play) pressure defense when we can, but we're still going to play the halfcourt defense that Portales is known for."

ROSTER

No. Name Ht. Yr. Pos.

1 Jacob Aranda 5-7 Sr. G

2 Jarett Faust 6-0 Jr. PG

3 Zach Blaeser 5-11 Sr. F

11 Ben Martinez 6-0 Jr. P

12 Isaiah Alvarado 5-7 Jr. G

13 Alex Villanueva 5-7 So. PG

14 Daniel Sanchez 6-2 Jr. F

15 Matt Martinez 5-8 So. PG

21 Zach Campbell 6-5 Jr. P

22 Emilio Baca 6-2 Sr. P

23 Reyes Calbert 5-11 Sr. F

24 Daniel Hernandez 5-11 Sr. F

31 Nathan Chavez 6-2 Jr. F

Coach: Rickie McBroom (1st year). Junior varsity coach: Wade Fraze. Freshman coach: Randy McBroom. Volunteer assistant: Todd McBroom.

SCHEDULE

December

7 — Roswell High, 7 p.m.; 11 — at Roswell Goddard, 7 p.m.; 14 — Friona, 7 p.m.; 21 — at Clovis, 7 p.m.; 22 — Santa Rosa, 7 p.m.; 27-29 — at Littlefield tournament.

January

8 — Artesia, 7 p.m.; 11-12 — Portales Shootout; 17-19 — at Hope Christian tournament; 25 — at Texico, 7:30 p.m.; 26 — Moriarty, 6 p.m.; 29 — at Tucumcari, 7 p.m.

February

1 — at Roswell High, 7 p.m.; 5 — Texico, 7 p.m.; 8 — at Ruidoso, 7 p.m.-x; 12 — at Lovington, 7 p.m.-x; 16 — at Dexter, 7 p.m.; 19 — Lovington, 7 p.m.-x; 22 — Ruidoso, 7 p.m.-x.

All times MST. x-Denotes District 4-3A games.

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