Rams ready for tough matchup with No. 1 Hope


CMI staff

On paper, it’s a tall order.

Bring it on, say Portales High boys basketball coach Rickie McBroom and his team.

The Rams, who pulled a minor upset with a 53-49 win at No. 8 Wingate in Saturday’s round-of-16 game, now face top-seeded Hope Christian in a 1:15 p.m. quarterfinal clash today at Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star Center.

While acknowledging the Huskies’ talent — Hope comes in with a 15-game winning streak and an 8-3 record against Class 5A schools, losing only to No. 1 Valley, No. 3 Atrisco Heritage and Eldorado — McBroom said the Rams are ready to go.

“We’re excited about playing, looking forward to the challenge,” McBroom said on Tuesday. “They’re deep and they play a lot of kids.

“They’re a good team, no doubt about that. But we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

McBroom said 6-foot-4 Huskies junior guard Dedrick Milford “is one of the top shooters in the state. I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls up from about 35 feet.” Austen Drake, a 6-5 senior post, leads the team inside.

The Huskies have nine players on their roster listed between 6-2 and 6-5.

“I’ll be honest, all their starting five are pretty good,” McBroom said. “They all do something different to help the team.”

Portales has struggled at times lately at the beginning of games. Obviously, that won’t fly in this one.

“We need a good start offensively,” McBroom said. “But I think the whole key for us comes down to the defensive end of the floor. We have to take away their penetration and rebound.

“If we do those two things, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The winner faces either West Las Vegas or Ruidoso, who play in today’s 8:15 p.m. finale, in a 1:15 p.m. semifinal on Friday.

(9) Portales vs. (1) Hope Christian

When: 1:15 p.m. today at Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho

What: Class 3A boys state tournament quarterfinal game

Records: Portales 15-13, Hope Christian 25-3

Radio: KSEL-FM 105.9.

Winner: Advances to a 9:45 a.m. semifinal game on Friday at SASC against either No. 4 West Las Vegas or No. 12 Ruidoso.

— Compiled by Dave Wagner


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