The Portales boys and girls split with Lovington again, but Tuesday it was the Lady Rams coming away with a big victory while the Rams were humbled.
Lady Rams junior post Macy Mitchell dumped in 13 points as Portales avenged the earlier loss to Lovington with a 45-29 win.
Portales spread the love around in the first quarter with two-pointers from Gabby Garcia and Jenna Sievers, a trey from Hanna Cissell and a pair of free throws from Mitchell to go up 9-2 at the end of the first period.
Lovington closed the gap to 9-5 early in the second period, but Portales never relented. Lady Rams guard Emily Roberts made a pair of free throws midway through the period to give Portales a 13-7 lead. The Portales junior went a perfect 8-for-8 from the line and finished with 10 points.
By the half Portales had a 22-11 lead and maintained a double-digit lead most of the second half.
Portales coach Clay Stout said it was mental toughness that kept Lovington from mounting a comeback.
“In the second half the girls moved to another level physically and mentally,” Stout said. “Then we made some good plays and got some back-door baskets when we needed them.”
Lovington’s defense was the same pressure game the Lady Rams faced in Lovington, Stout said. “We just did a better job of attacking it this time. We were getting the ball to the places it needed to be tonight.”
Stout said his team recovered quickly anytime they had a bad possession and didn’t have back-to-back bad possessions Tuesday.
The Lady Rams need a win Friday when they host Ruidoso to secure a district championship.
Lovington 53, Portales 39 — Portales started the night flat against Lovington and then watched the wheels come off in the second half as the Cats maintained a 15-point edge most of the way after the break.
A Portales player received a technical early in the third quarter and the Rams struggled to recover.
“The biggest disappointment tonight was our lack of composure,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “We got that “T” and it took us out of our game.”
Portales made a short-lived run with three minutes left as senior Keisto Ontiveros drove the lane for a bucket that made it 47-37. But Lovington took care of the ball and the clock following that basket as they went on a five-point run to finish things out.
“This was kind of flip-flopped from the other night,” Gallegos admitted. “It’s on our own floor. You’d think it would be the exact opposite.”
If Portales can beat Ruidoso when they visit Friday a playoff would be forced with Lovington for the district championship. Time and place for that potential playoff will be decided later in the week, Gallegos said.