Portales High basketball coaches Mark Gallegos and Clay Stout are comfortable with the seeds they received in the Class 3A state tournament, which begins this weekend with home games for both squads.
Both teams are playing unfamiliar foes. The PHS boys (17-9) take a No. 6 seed against Silver (15-10), seeded 11th, in a 7 p.m. tipoff on Saturday while the second-seeded Lady Rams (16-9) welcome No. 15 Socorro (10-17) in a 6 p.m. tipoff on Friday.
Gallegos said his team ended up about where he expected after Saturday’s District 4-3A tournament championship loss to Lovington at home.
“After getting beat in the district championship game, I thought we might fall a little bit,” said Gallegos, in his 13th season at the helm.
The Colts, meantime, are in their first season in 3A after dropping from Class 4A. Gallegos said they are a dangerous opponent.
“It’s a pretty tough draw,” he said. “They’re very athletic, very much like Lovington.”
He said the Colts have more size and at least as much quickness as Lovington.
Gallegos has taken four teams as far as the state semifinals, losing in the championship game in 2005 and winning the title in 2001.
The Lady Rams’ opponent also mirrors Lovington, coach Clay Stout said.
“They do lots of double-teaming and trapping and stuff like that,” he said.
Portales is seeded behind Santa Fe Indian (19-6). Stout said he hopes the Lady Rams’ schedule, laden with Class 4A and 5A teams, pays dividends.
“We’ve played some really good schools that are larger than 3A,” he said. “We’re tickled about the seed. I feel like it’s probably the most balanced bracket I’ve seen in my four years.”
If they win their first-round games, the Lady Rams would play on Tuesday and the Rams on Wednesday next week in quarterfinal games at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Three Roosevelt County teams qualified for state Class 1A competition. The Dora girls earned a No. 7 seed and host Cimarron at 6 p.m. Friday, while the Dora boys were seeded 13th and visit Fort Sumner at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Floyd’s boys earned a No. 11 seed and have a 4 p.m. contest on tap Saturday at Coronado.