For more than two decades the Portales the Lady Rams have been a familiar name in the brackets for the state tournament. The Lady Rams have won six straight games, with two back-to-back wins over District 4-3A rival Lovington.
Portales opens the first round of the playoffs at home against Hatch Valley. The Bears come into Portales after dropping the District 3-3A Championship game to Socorro 48-34.
Portales coach Clay Stout said this is the first meeting between both schools and feels Hatch’s strength is in their shooters and their ability to mix it up on defense.
“We are hoping to play aggressive enough on defense to force turnovers and disrupt their offensive rhythm,” Stout said. “I expect Hatch to run a one-two pressure, zone and man-to-man defense.”
The Lady Rams takes pride in their defense as they slow the tempo of the game down. In 23 of 27 games, Portales has held its opponents to 40 points or less.
“We still working on defense, offense and fundamentals, We’re still doing the little things right and we have been successful,” Stout said.
“Our defense has been playing really well. The teams we are playing are not easy to defend and I think the girls have worked hard on their defense and we’ve gotten better all year long.”
The Ram defense tries to restrict freedom for perimeter shooters and force the ball to the inside where Portales has help defenders.
Hatch Valley has only allowed 50 points or more to 11 opponents this season, while scoring 50 or more on 10 teams.
Near the end of the season the Bears scored 50 points in five straight games before its 51-48 regular season loss to Socorro.
Hatch Valley (13-13) at Portales (17-10)
6 p.m. today
At stake: The winner moves on to the second round of the state tournament next week in Albuquerque.
Last time out: Second-seeded Portales beat Lovington 36-30 for the District 4-3A Championship. Hatch, the No. 15 seed, lost to Socorro in the District 3-3A Championship.
Last Meeting: First meeting between schools in recent history.
Portales is 9-3 against teams in state playoffs.
Opponents have scored 40 points or less in 23 games.
Scored 50 points or more in five times.
Longest winning streak is six.
Longest losing streak was three games
4-5 in games decided by 5 points or less.
13-2 when holding opponents to 35 points or less.
1-5 against teams in playoffs.
Longest winning streak five.
Longest losing streak was four.
3-4 in games decided by 5 points or less.
Started the season 6-9.
4-1 when holding an opponent to 35 points or less.