The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales pulls away, tops Clovis girls


December 3, 2017

CLOVIS — Throw out the numbers — and the accompanying letters — as in, 4A and 6A, when the Portales and Clovis girls basketball teams play.

Not that size classifications are totally irrelevant, but in the case of this season — most specifically Saturday night’s Strength and Sass Shootout final at Rock Staubus Gymnasium — the most important size factor was the height advantage Portales had over Clovis.

And the only numbers that mattered were 67-47, the score by which Portales beat its area rival.

The Lady Rams led from start to finish, scoring the game’s first four points on an inside basket from Lindsey Blakey followed by a steal and layup from Zamorye Cox, then never looked back.

Teya Morris’ three-point shooting seemed to ignite a little spark for Clovis, and the Lady ’Cats trailed only 16-14 early in the second quarter after Morris buried a free throw.

Portales, however, then embarked on a 10-0 run — consecutive field goals from Cox, an Alexis Garcia free throw, an underneath bucket from Blakey and a Lillie Saiz trey — that changed the game’s complexion by lifting the Rams into a 26-14 lead.

“I actually had no idea that it was a 10-0 run,” Portales head coach Wade Fraze said later, “but I knew we had some separation. The thing about Clovis is, they keep coming at you. We just had to keep steady, regardless of whether things are going for or against us. Just stay the course.”

“We were playing good defense and we were working well together as a team, seeing the open people,” Portales forward Taylee Rippee, who finished with a team-high 18 points, said of her team’s 10-0 run.

“It took the wind out of us,” Clovis head coach Jeff Reed said of that run.

The Wildcats, though, kept battling and went on a 7-2 run of their own to close to within 28-21 late in the second quarter. By halftime, Clovis was down by only single digits, 33-25, a reasonable deficit.

But, two Blakey free throws to open the third-quarter scoring made it a double-digit contest again, and the difference was never less than that again. A fast-break layup from Garcia put the Rams ahead 37-25, and they kept rolling, building a 50-33 lead by quarter’s end, puncuated by a three-point set shot from Cox.

Portales stayed in full command throughout the fourth quarter and coasted to a 3-1 record while dropping Clovis to 1-2.

The Rams had banked a decisive victory, but had learned from the game’s earlier stages when the margin was far from decisive.

“I think (we learned) not to relax,” Fraze said. “Just never relax. ... I think that’s something we can take away.”

“I think we’re going to improve a lot in our shooting,” Rippee said, “and everything.”

Blakey added 17 for the Rams, followed by Cox with 13, and also joined in double figures by Kelly Fraze’s 10.

Morris tossed in a game-high 20, with Madison Tolbert contributing 15 for Clovis. But, that 35-point total between the two accounted for nearly three-quarters of the Wildcats’ scoring.

“We just didn’t really have anybody else step up,” Reed said. “We need (Morris and Tolbert) to do that every night, but we’ve got to have other people step up and do some scoring, too.”


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