PHS squads host in round of 16; Cats visit Cruces

 

Last updated 2/28/2017 at 5:49am



PORTALES — The New Mexico state basketball tournament is here, and several area teams are hoping to compete for state titles.

Some teams figure to have an easier path to the coveted title than others, but every team is aware it’s one-and-done time now and no opponent can be taken lightly.

Portales girls coach Wade Fraze perhaps said it best.

“Once you get to Albuquerque, everyone is there because they beat somebody,” he said. “Everyone is dangerous at that point, no matter what the seed.”

To get to Albuquerque, though, area teams must win in round-of-16 games this weekend. All girls games are on tap for Friday, while boys teams will play on Saturday.

In Class 4A, the No. 4 Lady Rams host 13th-seeded Pojoaque Valley, with tipoff set for at 6 p.m. at the Ram Athletic Center.

“(Pojoaque) is a big and very capable team,” Fraze said. “They beat (third-seeded) Robertson during the season, who beat (top-seeded) Hope Christian, but they’ve also lost to some teams that aren’t like Robertson.

“They’re up and down, but on any night can beat the state’s best.”

If the Lady Rams win, they’ll likely start to see some familiar faces. The top half of the girls 4A bracket is loaded with three teams for Portales’ district, with Hope at No. 1 and Moriarty coming at No. 5.

“The bracket is what it is, but at least we know what to expect from those teams and they know us, too,” Fraze said.

On the boys’ side, Portales (22-4), coming off a win at top-seeded Hope Christian in Saturday’s District 4-4A tournament finale, earned the second seed and hosts No. 15 Shiprock at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Chieftains (11-16) faced two common opponents with the Rams — having lost to both Hope Christian and Moriarty by double digits during the year.


Portales coach Rickie McBroom said Shiprock shares some similarities with other teams the Rams have faced.

“They remind us of Santa Fe Indian,” McBroom said. “They play a lot of different kids and they like to run up and down a lot, so our transition defense is going to be huge for us.

“They mainly play a 1-2-2 zone, with is what Ruidoso played against us too.”

McBroom sees potentially competitive quarterfinal games at Albuquerque. One advantage for the Rams moving past the round of 16 is that because of their tough pre-district schedule, they have already seen most of the teams they share the bracket with.


“When you get to Albuquerque, it’s a positive because you’ve seen the teams before, so preparation is easier,” said McBroom. “Now the negative is that they’ve seen us too, but we’ve added some new things since we’ve played also.”


If they advance, the Rams would likely face No. 7 St. Michael’s. The Rams edged the Horsemen 54-49 in January.

Clovis’ boys were awarded the No. 15 spot in the Class 6A bracket. The Wildcats (12-15) have a tough road to the championship starting with Saturday’s 6 p.m. matchup at No. 2 Las Cruces.

The Wildcats had numerous common opponents with the Bulldawgs, a team from the opposite side of the state.

Las Cruces (24-4) suffered only one bad loss on the season, falling to No. 5 seed Rio Rancho by double digits.

Should the Cats pull off the upset, they would most likely face former district rival Hobbs, the No. 7 seed, in the quarterfinal round.

Meantime, 13 area schools qualified for state competition in Classes 1A-3A. Texico’s squads, both defending state Class 3A champions, are seeded second this year and will be at home this weekend.

In Class 2A, the fifth-seeded Fort Sumner girls host No. 12 Dora on Friday, while the Fort Sumner boys are seeded fourth and the Dora boys ninth.

In Class 1A, six-time defending small-school champion Elida is seeded No. 1 and last year’s Class 2A champion, Melrose is No. 2 on the girls side. Four teams qualified from District 4-1A, also including eighth-seeded Grady and No. 10 Floyd.

In 1A boys competition, last year’s 2A champion Melrose Buffaloes are seeded third, with Floyd at No. 10 and Grady at No. 12.

More on these teams is scheduled to appear in Wednesday’s edition of The News.

 
 

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