Zach Blaeser was definitely feeling it early.
So were his Portales High teammates.
Portales junior Daniel Sanchez dribbles around Santa Rosa's Robert Zamora during the first half of Saturday's game at the Ram Athletic Center. PHS defeated the Lions 67-46. The Rams will travel to Littlefield on Thursday for a tournament.
The Rams knocked down six first-quarter 3-pointers, including three by Blaeser in a span of about a minute, and they rode the quick start to a 67-46 victory over Santa Rosa on Saturday night at the Ram Athletic Center.
Blaeser scored the Rams' first 11 points, capped by his trio of 3-pointers. Reserves Isaiah Alvarado (two) and Nathan Chavez (one) added three more as PHS (2-3), coming off a 71-49 loss at Clovis on Friday night, opened a 24-15 lead.
Junior guard Jarret Faust's 3-pointer made it 29-19 early in the second period, and the margin was in double figures the rest of the way.
Rams junior Nathan Chavez puts up two points over Santa Rosa defender Miguel Sisneros during the first half of Saturday's game at the Ram Athletic Center. PHS defeated the Lions 67-46.
"I was glad to see us come out and play hard," Rams coach Rickie McBroom said. "We were focused tonight. The kids executed well to get those shots."
The teams weren't quite able to keep up the breakneck pace of the early going. Santa Rosa (3-4), which beat Monte del Sol 89-76 on Friday night, was playing its seventh game in 10 days after winning the Class 2A state football championship on Dec. 8.
Senior Reyes Calbert finished with 17 points — nine in the fourth quarter — while Blaeser added for the Rams, who had 10 of their 11 players in the scoring column. Portales finished with nine 3-pointers and a 40-21 advantage on the boards.
"It started out fast-paced," Blaeser said. "We pressured the ball (on defense) pretty good, and we got the ball to the open person."
Blaeser said the win was a lift after Friday night's setback in Clovis. The Rams now will get busy with four games in a three-day tournament at Littlefield, starting Thursday.
"It's always a confidence-booster to get a win, especially heading into the Littlefield tournament," Blaeser said.
Lions coach Joe Esquibel admitted his team, made up almost exclusively of football players, is playing its way into basketball shape.
"Overall, they were a little bigger than us; they kind of outmuscled us," Esquibel said. "Portales is a good team. They hit six 3-pointers in the first quarter and that's a hard thing to come back from."
Senior post Miguel Sisneros had 15 points for the Lions, all but three of them coming in the first half.