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

Portales girls pull away from Dons

Rams survive cold shooting with 70 rebounds in 58-41 win

 

ALBUQUERQUE — It would be tough to find a favored team in the girls' state basketball tournament that shot as poorly as the Portales Rams Tuesday morning.

But it would be impossible to find a team that rebounded better, as Portales grabbed down 70 boards to help it slowly pull away from West Las Vegas in a 58-41 win at The Pit.

Portales (26-2), winners of 17 straight, will advance to an 8 a.m. Thursday semifinal, also at The Pit, against Shiprock.

"We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn," Rams coach Wade Fraze said, laughing. "That's why it was good that we got so many rebounds — 70 is just unheard of."

Portales had a slim 15-12 lead after the first quarter on the No. 9 Dons (19-11), and managed to only double that to six, 34-28, at half.

Besides a rough shooting outing, foul trouble also got the Rams in a bind. Zamorye Cox had three fouls before halftime, while others like Taylee Rippee had three fouls before the fourth quarter.

According to Fraze, the officials let the two teams play inside, but called the game very tight on the outside, which is precisely where Portales picked up all of its fouls.

However, the Rams got on track in the second half, outscoring the Dons 24-13.

"We just stayed the course," Fraze explained. "The shots that we were getting were good shots, and I believed that they'd start falling for us. Eventually, they did a little bit, and the rebounding really helped."

Lindsay Blakey (16 points, 18 rebounds) and Taylee Rippee (14 and 18) each posted double-doubles, as the duo had more rebounds (36) than West Las Vegas (32) had combined.

Shiprock, which improved to 20-9 with a 58-54 win over Silver, brings an amazing crowd when it plays in The Pit, according to Fraze.

However, while that and a unique style of play will be challenging for the Rams on Thursday morning, Fraze isn't worried about anyone else but Portales.

"Shiprock's good every year. They always take a huge crowd with them, and they play an unconventional style of basketball on both offense and defense that's hard to stop," Fraze said.

"They have a lot of natural movement that you don't see, and they all can shoot and handle the ball. (However, my kids) know about that and we just got to play our game and not let anyone else dictate that. We're really just focusing on us."

 

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