By Dave Wagner
CMI sports writer
The Portales Rams got to the Class 3A round-of-16 two years ago, only to lose at Shiprock. They reached the state quarterfinals last year, where the Chieftains bumped them off again.
This season, with eight seniors to build around, the Rams (18-11 a year ago) would like to think they’ve got a chance to go a bit further — Shiprock or not.
“We’re expecting good things from this bunch,” said second-year coach Rickie McBroom, who served as an assistant to Mark Gallegos for six seasons before that. “They’ve been in the system for one year, so we’re further along than we were last year.”
Portales, which lost only three regulars to graduation, faces a stiff test tonight right out of the blocks — the Rams visit Roswell High, the top-ranked team in Class 4A.
“That will give us a good test,” senior guard Jarret Faust said. “We’ll see if we can give them a game.”
On Saturday, the Rams play Wingate in a 3 p.m. tipoff at Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena as part of the ENMU Tip-off, which will include three high school games around the Greyhounds’ 5 p.m. clash against Northern New Mexico.
The Rams had numerous people lead them in scoring during games last season, and McBroom expects that to be the case again. Seniors Zach Campbell and Daniel Sanchez are expected to lead the way inside for PHS, with the backcourt featuring Faust and fellow seniors Isaiah Alvarado and Nathan Chavez, among others.
“We feel like we’re real balanced inside and outside,” McBroom said. “We were nine or 10 deep last year, so the kids coming off the bench played about as many minutes as the starters.
“We preach the team concept. Whether you start or don’t, we want you to help us be successful.”
The Rams should have flexibility, McBroom added, with several players able to play more than one position.
“We’ve all got the experience of playing regularly,” Faust said. “There shouldn’t be as many jitters. We all know what coach McBroom expects of us. We all understand the system; we’ve just got to execute it.”
As a senior, Faust said he expects his role to go up and expectations to rise.
“I think I’ll be making smarter decisions about getting (the ball) to the guys that need it, like Zach Campbell,” he said. “He’s going to be really big for us.”
Districe 4-3A, which also includes Lovington and Ruidoso, should be competitive, McBroom said. As usual, the Rams will face a number of Class 4A and Class 5A teams during the season, a something designed to get them ready for postseason play.
“Our schedule is a real good one,” McBroom said. “It’s going to challenge us, and I think that’s what you have to do if you want to compete on a state level.”
No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr.
1 Matt Martinez PG 5-9 Jr.
2 Jarret Faust PG 6-0 Sr.
11 Ben Martinez P 6-0 Sr.
12 Isaiah Alvarado G 5-7 Sr.
14 Daniel Sanchez F 6-2 Sr.
15 Caleb Burciaga F 5-11 Sr.
20 Marcos Lucero G 5-10 Sr.
21 Zach Campbell P 6-5 Sr.
22 Bronte Staugaard F 5-8 So.
23 Paul Conrow F 6-1 Jr.
24 John Young C 6-1 Jr.
31 Nathan Chavez F 6-2 Sr.
Coach: Rickie McBroom (2nd year).
5 — at Roswell High, 7 p.m.; 7 — vs. Wingate at ENMU, 3 p.m.; 10 — Roswell Goddard, 7 p.m.; 14 — at New Mexico Military, 7 p.m.; 17 — at Friona, 6 p.m.; 20 — Clovis, 7 p.m.; 26-28 — at Littlefield tournament.
7 — at Artesia, 7 p.m.; 10-11 — Portales Shoot Out, TBA; 16-18 — at St. Michael’s Shoot Out, TBA; 24 — Texico, 7 p.m.; 25 — at Moriarty, 6 p.m.-x; 28 — Tucumcari, 7 p.m.
1 — New Mexico MIlitary, 7 p.m.; 4 — at Texico, 7:30 p.m.; 7 — Ruidoso, 7 p.m.-x; 11 — Lovington, 7 p.m.-x; 18 — at Lovington, 7 p.m.-x; 21 — at Ruidoso, 7 p.m.-x.
All times MST. x-Denotes District 4-3A games.