State basketball tournament action in Albuquerque kicks off at 8 a.m. today in The Pit with the Portales Lady Rams facing Santa Fe Indian School in the 3A quarterfinal round. Elida’s girls continue their title quest at 6:45 p.m. at Rio Rancho High School against Grady.
No. 2-seed Portales (17-9) has a history with Santa Fe Indian School at the state tournament, dating back to 2005 when SFIS defeated a Lady Ram squad that was in search of its third-straight championship. Since then Portales beat SFIS in the semifinal in 2006. Last year, SFIS was knocked out in the quarterfinal and Portales was defeated by Hope Christian in the championship.
According to Ram coach Clay Stout, the Indians will press and play man-to-man the entire game, relying on quickness and stamina. He says they’re also an outside shooting threat on offense.
SFIS (22-6) comes into the contest today seeded 10th but has already knocked off the No. 7 seed Sandia Prep by a score of 59-47.
“I don’t think I have to tell them anything special to get them fired up,” Stout said of his team. “They know what’s at stake here.”
Portales will be without the services of junior point-guard Tara Johnson in Albuquerque. Johnson tore an ACL during first-round action Friday against West Las Vegas. While numerous players are capable of stepping up for Portales, Johnson was looked to as the offensive leader.
“Because of the situation with Tara, they’re wanting to play well for her,” Stout said. “The girls are determined not to let anything stand in their way. That’s the attitude you have to have at this point.’
Elida coach Dan Howard said his team isn’t struggling with any injury problems but several players are still getting over a bout with the flu. He doesn’t expect that to be much of a factor, but he knows Grady will be ready.
“Grady is the kind of team that won’t come out scared,” Howard said. “We’ll have our hands full.”
Elida (24-3) comes in at the No. 2 seed while Grady is No. 7. Elida is looking for its first championship since 1995. Last year their effort was stalled in the semi-final against Cliff. Howard said he has a good number of girls on this year’s team that played in that semifinal and they’re resolved to go further this year.
“That’s our ultimate goal, is to go all the way,” Howard said. “We can’t come out scared and do that. Hopefully if we come out with our A-game we’ll be all right.”
Lady Rams in action today
Published: Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
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