ROSWELL — The Portales Rams clamped down on the defensive end after halftime on Tuesday night, and earned themselves the top seed in this week's District 4-3A tournament.
Junior forward Daniel Sanchez scored 18 points and senior forward Reyes Calbert added 16 as PHS defeated Lovington 57-48 in a seeding playoff game played at New Mexico Military Institute.
Lovington (9-18) will host third-seeded Ruidoso (8-15) in a semifinal game on Thursday night, with the winner traveling to the Ram Activity Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The PHS girls, meantime, host Thursday's Ruidoso-Lovington winner at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tied 27-27 at the break on a tipin by junior Zach Campbell as time expired, the Rams held Lovington to seven third-quarter points in taking control.
"They hurt us inside in the first half, so we made a defensive adjustment and made them shoot from the perimeter," Rams coach Rickie McBroom said. "We tried to take away their big kids (Stephen Lennox and Andrew Homer)."
Homer scored 13 points for the Wildcats while Lennox, a 6-foot- 5 sophomore who eventually fouled out, finished with 12 points. Junior guard Quantel Nash also scored 13 points for Lovington.
McBroom said the Rams packed their zone defense a little more in the second half and generally limited the Wildcats to one shot.
"We did a much better job of controlling our defensive boards in the third quarter," he said.
Sanchez had two of the Rams' five 3-pointers in the game and also went 6-for-7 from the foul line, leading a 14-for-19 showing overall from the line for Portales.