Can Rams 'shoulder' the load without star?

Rippee injury leaves her status up in the air following weekend tourney


December 12, 2018

SANTA FE — How the Portales girls basketball season goes is largely going to depend on whether a young Ram squad finds scoring options outside of senior post Taylee Rippee.

They’re about to get a crash course, with the senior’s status up in the air following a 64-44 loss to Robertson in Saturday’s Santa Fe Tournament championship game.

Aliziana Darley had 22 points, and the sibling pair of Jazmyne Jenkins and Jayden Jenkins combined for 31 as the Cardinals pulled away following Rippee’s departure with a dislocated shoulder in the third quarter.

“I was very proud of how they responded,” Portales coach Wade Fraze said. “After Taylee went out, we were down four or six. She hurt it in the second, and I think it just weakened it. She sat out for a while in the second. The third is when it came completely out.”

Rippee was due for an evaluation prior to Tuesday’s game at West Las Vegas, but Fraze is planning for a scenario where she’ll miss that game and Friday’s rematch at Robertson.

Fraze said he would gladly coach with a dislocated shoulder rather than have her suffer the injury, playing or not, but all Portales can really do is use her absence as a chance to develop other players.

“As young as we are,” Fraze said, “we're about to get younger. Taylee, you can't replace a kid like that.”

The biggest key against Robertson Friday will be the transition game, as Darley will try to create one-person fast breaks.

“She had 18 of her 22 in the second half,” Fraze said. “I think all of them were on snowbird layups. When we take a shot, she flies and they baseball pass it to her.”

Taylee Rippee had a team-high 13, while Taris Rippee added 10. Riley Shillings added eight for Portales.

The Rams went 2-1 in the tournament, with comfortable wins over St. Michael’s and Santa Fe, and Fraze felt it was a great experience despite the ending.

“Alexis Ryen had a career best in points one night, rebounds the next,” Fraze said. “Taris Rippee made all-tournament (along with Taylee); she had 10 points Saturday. Teagan Faust played phenomenal defense.”


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