After seeing their home game against Ruidoso postponed twice last week, the Portales Rams face a stiff challenge tonight as they try to get back into the District 4-3A race.
Portales hosts Lovington (15-3, 2-0 district) in a 7 p.m. game at the PHS gym.
“It’s a big game,” Rams coach Mark Gallegos said. “The kids are looking forward to it. And we’re looking for our first game this year where we play (a full) 32 minutes.”
The PHS girls, meantime, open district play today with a 5:30 p.m. tipoff at Ruidoso.
Gallegos said Lovington, which is on a five-game winning streak, puts an athletic team on the court. “We’re going to have to try to keep them off the offensive boards,” he said.
Junior guards Robert Hargrove, Robert Perez and Jaden Swenson lead the Wildcats. Hargrove is a third-year starter at the point.
“They’re a junior-laden team,” Gallegos said. “The key for us is starting quick. We can’t let them get any confidence.”
The district title has come through one or the other for eight years now, Gallegos noted. Portales (7-9, 0-1) has won it the last five seasons while the Wildcats put together a string of three in a row before that.
Gallegos said the Ruidoso game has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 at Portales.
“I think we’re playing pretty well,” Gallegos said. “We’ve had some good practices (since a 53-50 loss last Tuesday at New Mexico Military). I think our kids are focused on the task at hand.”
The Lady Rams (9-6), coming off their second blowout of Roswell Goddard in a week, expect a tough test at Ruidoso (10-6). Portales hasn’t lost to the Lady Warriors in coach Clay Stout’s first two seasons.
“They’re pretty athletic and they’ve got good size,” Lady Rams coach Clay Stout said. “They’re capable of playing well.
“We need to play well up there. They really push the ball; they’ve give up some easy shots to keep the tempo fast.”
The Lady Rams have road games against Hobbs on Friday and Dexter on Saturday, then finish with five of their last six at home.