To illustrate just how much Portales struggled Saturday, only three facts on their opponents re needed.
First, the Lady Mustangs shot 11-of-29 for the day. Second, it was five minutes before Monument Valley hit a field goal. Third, the Mustangs won by 10.
On a day where two teams could get nothing going offensively, the Lady Mustangs got just enough and held off Portales 32-22 Saturday in the New Mexico/Arizona Challenge at Rock Staubus Gym.
Anjilique Black scored 12 points for the Lady Mustangs (13-3), and hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second period to help Monument Valley pull away from a Lady Rams squad that shot 5-of-27 and went the first 7:50 and final 11:09 without a basket.
Assistant coach Michell Todecheene said Friday’s 62-42 loss against host Clovis was a little bit of a wakeup call, and the Lady Mustangs executed when they needed to against a stingy Portales defense.
“You just need a loss like that in order to wake up,” said Todecheene, filling in due to a medical emergency for head coach Robert Nash. “Most of the girls really stepped up today.”
Monument Valley had 29 turnovers against Clovis on Friday, but had just four through the first three quarters on Saturday — meaning Portales (5-5) could never get a chance to get some easy buckets in transition.
That might have been the spark Portales needed, as coach Clay Stout said the Lady Rams could never take advantage of the inside position they got against the Lady Mustangs. Of Portales’ attempts, all but five were less than 10 feet from the basket.
“When you don’t hit those chip shots, you’ll just struggle,” Stout said. “Do we expect to win a game shooting 18 percent? No.”
A relentless halfcourt defense had the Lady Rams only down seven with two minutes to play, but they couldn’t get anything going away from the free-throw line in the final period.
“We didn’t go inside-out when we needed to,” Stout said. “We didn’t go outside-in when we needed to.”
Gabby Garcia and Macy Mitchell each scored seven for Portales, while senior post Jenna Wagner added six.
Portales travels to Roswell High on Thursday. Meantime, Monument Valley hosts Winslow on Friday in a rematch of last year’s Division 3A title game, won by the Lady Mustangs.