LOVINGTON — The Portales Rams knew they’d have to play well Friday night against Lovington, but they couldn’t muster the effort.
After taking an early four-point lead, things went downhill quickly for the Rams and Lovington locked up the District 4-3A regular-season title with a 60-34 victory.
Portales (11-11, 4-3) is tied for second in the district with New Mexico Military, but has the tie-breaker over the Colts. Rams coach Mark Gallegos said if his team beats Dexter at home next Friday, it will lock up the No. 2 seed for the district tournament.
Gallegos was a bit befuddled, however, by his team’s performance against the Wildcats (20-4, 7-0).
“We just didn’t show up,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words.
“Defensively, we couldn’t get a stop, and we tried a lot of things. They were able to get in the lane on us.”
The Rams were unable to sustain any momentum early in the game.
“If we could’ve kept (their early lead),” Gallegos said, “we could’ve forced them to come out of their zone and play us man-to-man.”
Junior guard Robert Hargrove and junior forward Saul Guevara scored 13 points each for the Wildcats (20-4, 7-0). Lovington led 25-16 at halftime and blew the game open by dominating the third period 17-4.
Junior post Garrett Hancock led the Rams with nine points. Portales shot just 7-of-17 from the free throw line.
“Garrett Hancock probably had the best game he’s had all year,” Gallegos said.
Portales steps outside the district on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. home game against Texico.