ROSWELL — Portales High knew it was facing a tough test in Thursday’s season opener at Roswell High. It might have been tougher than expected.
Senior guards Marquel Warner and Cesar Nava combined for 56 points and the Coyotes, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A in preseason, steamrolled to an 85-50 victory over the Rams.
Roswell High (2-0) outscored Portales 31-9 in the second quarter to build a 35-point halftime lead as Nava finished with five 3-pointers and 29 points and Warner added a pair of 3s and 27.
The Rams have a quick turnaround, taking on Wingate at 3 p.m. Saturday at Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena as part of ENMU Tip-off,” featuring four games. Roswell High plays Belen in the 1 p.m. opener, then ENMU faces Northern New Mexico at 5 p.m. before Clovis takes on Mayfield in the 7 p.m. finale.
“They’re not real big, but they’ll shoot the 3,” Rams coach Rickie McBroom said of Wingate. “They played St. Michael’s a good game last year; they lost, but they took St. Michael’s to the very end.”
McBroom said he thinks Roswell High is probably one of the top five teams in the state in any classification.
“They jumped on us early,” he McBroom said. “I thought our kids kept fighting; we had some trouble executing. But they’re just really good.
“The Warner kid and the Nava kid are as good as any two kids in the state.”
Senior post Nathan Campbell scored 21 points for the Rams, hitting 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Portales finished the game 16-of-21 on free throws, but the Coyotes posted a 10-0 advantage in 3-point baskets.
“He played really well,” McBroom said. “We talked at halftime about getting the ball inside more, and the kids did a good job of getting the ball to him.
“There’s some things we need to get better at, and we’ll try to work on that (today) in practice and throw our attention toward Wingate.”