The Portales Rams know they have a tall order today in the Class 3A boys state tournament quarterfinals — literally.
The Rams, seeded sixth, take on third-seeded Sandia Prep (20-9), which is led by 6-foot-6 senior center Kody Salcido.
Salcido averages close to 20 points a game, and Rams coach Mark Gallegos called him “probably the best player in 3A.”
“We know we’ve got a pretty tough matchup,” Gallegos said. “They’ve played a pretty tough schedule.
“We’re going to have to try to take away their inside game. This is the most physical team we’ve played all year, with no exceptions.”
Gallegos said the Rams (18-9) faced Sandia Prep in a summer camp in Santa Fe, hosted by St. Michael’s, and they beat the Sundevils “by eight or 10 points.” Of course, that was without Salcido, who was on a recruiting trip to California at the time.
Sandia Prep’s other big man is 6-3, 260-pound senior Harry Hampden-Smith.
“They use him a lot as a passer,” Gallegos said. “They run a lot of high-low sets, but (Hampden-Smith) can post up as well.
“Their guards are just real solid. They don’t have a real flashy guard, but they know their roles.”
Defensively, the Sundevils play a lot of halfcourt man-to-man, switching to zone at times.
“I kind of hope they come out and play us man-to-man, and maybe we can bring their big kids away from the basket,” Gallegos said.
He said the Rams, who are back in the quarterfinals after having a six-year run of at least reaching that point snapped last season, aren’t intimidated by anyone at state.
“The way we look at it is there’s no easy games the rest of the way,” Gallegos said. “The kids are real focused and ready to go.”