The margin of victory was solid in their first district win, but the Portales Rams weren't pleased with the intensity level in their 61-35 win over the New Mexico Military Institute Colts.
"It was a win, but I don't feel like we gave it our best game," Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. "We were a little tired and we had some odd combinations on the court tonight."
Portales (10-7) finished as runner-up at the Hope Classic in Albuquerque, a tournament that Gallegos says tested his team.
Portales' man defense smothered NMMI (7-9) in the first quarter and junior post Marcus Slocum appeared to be setting the tempo early for the Rams as he smashed home an alley oop off an inbounds play. Slocum finished with a game-high 18 points.
Ram senior Billy Good scored on a layup and converted the connected free throw to give Portales an early 12-point lead with 1:40 left in the first period. From there NMMI slowly started to fade in the Ram's rearview mirror without too many flashy runs by either team.
"We played OK, we just had no answers to Slocum," Colts coach Pilar Carrasco said. "I was pleased we were able to slow Good down some. They've (Rams) got a couple of (good) kids there and a really solid supporting cast around them."
Carrasco said he normally doesn't want to read too much into a dunk but he confessed that Slocum's jam in the first quarter may have given his team a psychological boost.
NMMI was without the services of 6-4 post Giles Zollar, who was unable to travel because of other commitments, according to Carrasco. With Zollar, Carrasco said his team would have matched up better inside with Slocum and Good.
Ram senior Walker Partin scored back-to-back field goals underneath and Slocum tallied one himself to put the game out of reach in the third quarter. By the end of the period Portales had opened up a 19-point lead. With the Colts experiencing foul trouble in the fourth Portales managed to widen the margin despite rotations that brought the entire Ram bench into the scoring column before the night was over.
"We got a lot of guys some time, Gallegos said. "Everybody at times had their opportunity. That's our goal to have balanced scoring."
Partin said he wasn't pleased with his team's defensive effort.
"We could have played a lot better as a team," Partin said. "But we're 1-0 in district and you can't complain about that."
Partin was the only other Ram in double figures with 10 points on the night. Junior Shawn Carrasco had nine and Good finished with seven.
The Colts were led in scoring by seniors Reid Sharpe with 12 points and Harvey Johnson with seven.
Portales continues its District 4-3A schedule Friday with a trip to Ruidoso.