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

Lady Rams roll in state opener

Crush Bosque 71-41 at home


March 3, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Portales senior Sarah Lovato brings the ball into the frontcourt while Bosque senior Maricella Chavez defends during Friday night's 4A first-round state playoff game at Portales High School's Ram Athletic Center.

PORTALES — Four became three pretty quickly.

That's the number of wins now standing in the way of a Class 4A championship for the Portales Rams.

Portales, the No. 1-seed in 4A, made easy work of No. 16 Bosque on Friday night, 71-31 and will face Albuquerque on Tuesday morning to continue a quest for its first championship since 2014.

"I thought it was consistent, start-to-finish for us," Portales coach Wade Fraze said of Friday's Round of 16 victory. "I thought everybody that got in contributed, and there weren't any major letdowns in the game. That's what we're looking for is consistency."

After buckets from Kyera Chavez and Genevieve Gray pulled Bosque (14-15) within two points of Portales (25-2) in the early going, the Rams offense went into overdrive, breaking the game wide open.

Taylee Rippee, who led all scorers with 15 points, got a bouncepass from Zamorye Cox to extend the Ram lead to 15-5, as part of an 8-0 run. The lead was cut down to 19-11 to start the second period, before Lillie Saiz and Sarah Lovato pulled up for quick jumpers.

Lovato soon nailed a 3, before Cox drove to the lane to make it a 17-point game. The Rams carried 20-point lead into half, and never looked back, as Portales' exceptional jump shooting was too much for the Bobcats to handle on Friday night.

Besides Rippee, two other Rams, Lindsay Blakey (13) and Lovato (11) finished in double-figures. Overall, Portales had at least 10 players score a basket, with five players scoring six points or more.

After playing just two games over the past 17 days, however, Portales will now find itself playing three times in four days next week, should it advance all the way to Friday's title game.

For Fraze, the trip to Dreamstyle Arena aka "The Pit," won't be any more intimidating than what Coach Norman Dale's squad faced in the movie "Hoosiers." Portales is a little more used to it than Hickory High, with this year marking 17 straight years playing at The Pit.

"The challenge is it's a game," Fraze explained. "You approach it just like you do any other game — the rules are still the same, and I think we make it ever bigger than what it is. It's a game and we need to approach it like any other game."

When Portales arrives in Albuquerque on Tuesday for its 11 a.m. quarterfinal, it'll face No. 9 West Las Vegas. Portales, who enters the game on a 16-game winning streak, last faced West Las Vegas on Dec. 12, defeating the Dons, 62-42.

In that matchup, Portales only trailed once, as both Cox and Rippee reached double-figures by halftime.

"It's not really challenging. We've been practicing hard and I think that we're ready to go up there (and do our thing)," Rippee said of the trip to state. "We just have to block out and do things that we know we can do. Play good defense and everything (will work out)."


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