ROSWELL — A fast start wasn’t enough for the Portales Rams.
New Mexico Military overcame a 21-9 deficit at the end of the first quarter Tuesday night to hand the Rams their first District 4-3A loss since the 2006-07 season, holding on late for a 53-50 win in the district opener for both teams.
The Colts outscored Portales 34-15 in the middle two quarters to take control. Portales had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds left, but Shawn Carrasco came up empty on a two-shot foul.
NMMI’s Nathan Moore then converted a pair of two-shot foul opportunities around a 3-pointer by Carrasco to nail down the victory.
“It’s the same story, different game,” Rams coach Mark Gallegos said. “We’ve started out well in a lot of games and then struggled. The second quarter we just went flat, and we couldn’t get defensive stops. They did a good job of getting the ball into their big kid (6-foot-4 Giles Zollar, who finished with 21 points).”
Carrasco had four 3-pointers and 13 points for the Rams (6-9), while junior Jesse Blue finished with 11 points and junior Stephen Shields added 10. Wade Thomas added 14 points for NMMI.
Portales had gone 8-0 in regular-season district play and won the district tournament final in each of the last two seasons, Gallegos said, and he added that the Rams dropped only one district game in 2006-07.
Portales returns to action at home Friday night against Ruidoso.
“We’ve got to regroup,” Gallegos said. “We’ve got a big one on Friday. We’ll have to bounce back and do it the hard way.”