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

By Kevin Wilson
Editor 

Total turnaround

 

January 27, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Clovis' Ayden Everett and Portales' Aaliyah Austin battle for a loose ball in the second half of Friday's game at Portales High School. A jump ball was called on the play.

PORTALES - You don't need an and-one or a long-range 3-pointer to make a statement in some girls basketball games. Sometimes, all you need to do is grab the loose ball, and do it again, and again, and again ...

Portales didn't score on its opening possession Friday night against Clovis, but set the tone by grabbing three offensive rebounds on the play. The scoring picked up, and the rebounding effort never relented in a 57-32 win that was a measuring stick for both teams.

Sophomore Mattison Blakey had 17 points to lead Portales (8-10), which has progressed miles since its season-opening 46-45 loss at Clovis in a game where the Wildcats were without several key players.

Friday's contest was a different story, with the Rams leading by as many as 28 early in the fourth.

"They beat us by two or three in the summer, then by one in the opener," Portales coach Wade Fraze said. "The experience we've gained, particularly with Taylee (Rippee) out, has made a difference.

"Now that Taylee's back in the lineup (after losing time to a separated shoulder), the experience is helpful. All the girls knew before was throw it in to Taylee. If she's triple-teamed, throw it in to Taylee."

It's not that way anymore, as the notion of the senior being Portales' third-leading scorer isn't a situation that dooms Portales.

"Our execution was much better tonight," Blakey said. "We passed the ball as well as we have all season. I feel like everybody contributed."

Rippee herself scored 10 points, while younger sibling Taris had 12 points and hit one of Portales' four 3-pointers.

But the biggest key was on the offensive glass, where Portales pulled down 22 while the Lady Cats (7-13) struggled to hit close-range shots.

"We're not going to outrebound many teams because we're not very big," Clovis coach Jeff Reed said. "But when we don't block out and don't take care of our business it sets the tempo for the remainder of the game. We got out of what we wanted to do."

Fraze has long been a proponent that when you rebound and defend well, everything else takes care of itself.

"We want to win the offensive boards," Fraze said. "If you are winning the offensive boards, you're going to get so many more chances, and many of those are going to be a 3-point play because the other team isn't thinking defense when you go right back up."

Nobody reached double figures for Clovis, with Madison Tolbert scoring seven and Mikyla Harkley adding six.

Both teams are in action on the road Tuesday, with Clovis visiting Carlsbad and Portales technically the home team in a neutral-site game against Taos at Santa Rosa High. The teams decided on neutral-site games this season and next, since both teams wanted a game but neither wanted that length of trip. Portales will go the larger distance in the 2019-20 season, with the game likely to be played at West Las Vegas.

 
 

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