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

By Peter Stein
Staff writer 

Portales teams drop road games

 

February 10, 2019



PORTALES — Both Portales basketball teams were in catch-’em-while-you-can mode Tuesday night. The boys team hadn’t played at all since Jan. 25, the girls since Jan. 29.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Portales girls coach Wade Fraze said, “and we were ready to get a game under our belts.”

And Tuesday’s return to action against Goddard marked both teams’ last home games until Feb. 19. The Portales fans who did ‘catch ’em’ in their District 4-4A openers Tuesday received mixed results — a dominant performance and 72-43 win for the Lady Rams followed by a too-little-too-late effort from the boys who fell just short, 45-42, after being down 17 in the second half.

“We’ve got to do a better job of being ready to play, and I’m very disappointed that we weren’t,” Portales boys coach Rickie McBroom said. “After having a week of practice, I thought we should have been more ready to play.”

Friday saw Portales suffer a road sweep at Artesia, with the boys falling 54-47 and the girls falling by a 66-58 count.

Lady Rams set tone early

In the first quarter, Goddard’s girls team went up 7-4 when senior Bailey Beene hit the first of her three treys on the night. Portales, however, then went on an 11-0 run, started by an Alexis Ryen putback.

A Taris Rippee leaner gave the Rams an 8-7 edge, and as it turned out, had given them the lead for good. After a Taylee Rippee defensive rebound on the other end began a new possession for Portales, she finished it by maneuvering around defensive pressure for a short hoop to make it 10-7.

Aaliyah Austin hit a three to hand Portales a six-point lead, and soon after, Teagan Faust used a fake before dribbling up a bit and drilling a mid-range jumper that increased the Rams’ lead to 15-7.

It was 15-9 by the first quarter’s end, thanks to an inside basket from Goddard’s Alma Salinas, but Portales kept rolling in the second quarter, getting back-to-back hoops from Taylee Rippee and a short jumper from Riley Shillings, making it a 21-9 game and completing an overall 17-2 run for Portales.

“That did kind of give us a little momentum,” Fraze said. “I’ve always told my girls not to pay attention to the score — whether we’re down, up, or tied — to just play basketball the right way. And I think that little momentum did help us continue through the game.”

“We played really well as a team,” Taylee Rippee said after scoring a game-high 25. “We did all the right things, played good defense and that led to good offense. (We were) moving in order to find the open man.”

And it kept going for the game’s remainder. By halftime, the Rams led 33-19. Rippee began the second-half scoring by completing a three-point play to keep the Rams rolling. It was the start of a 9-0 Portales run that also included: a Ryen bank shot after a Taris Rippee steal, a fast-break layup from Taris Rippee, and a Codi Flores hoop inside, giving the Rams a 42-19 advantage. They led 55-28 by the third quarter’s end.

Portales stayed sharp in the fourth, thanks in part to three treys from Shillings. After her third bucket from downtown, Shillings gave the Rams their only 30-point lead of the night by collecting a steal, drawing a foul and hitting both free throws to make it 71-41.

Soon, Portales had claimed its district opener.

“I’ll take it,” Fraze said. “I said early that this district is wide open and on any give night, anybody can beat anybody else.”

Still rusty

Two nights after the Los Angeles Rams scored just three points, the Portales Rams had their own problems scoring as they came off their 11-day respite.

Though the game was close early, Portales’ boys team scored just 10 points in the first quarter, lucky to be down by just two heading into the second.

The Rams tied it twice in the second period — 12-12 on a Kellan Hightower free throw and 16-16 after a steal and layup from Rico Diaz. By halftime, Goddard held a modest 19-16 edge.

The Rockets scored the first 13 points of the new half — nine of them coming from junior point guard Brandon Montanez — completing a 16-0 run that spilled over from the second quarter.

But Rams senior forward Jaycob Medlin kept giving his team hope. He ended Portales’ drought with a trey, and after Goddard then scored four straight points, Medlin hit again from downtown, then sank another three shortly before the third quarter’s end to bring the Rams within 36-25.

A free throw from senior guard Julian Urioste cut it to 10 early in the fourth, and though Urioste missed the second attempt, he came up with the offensive rebound. The ball soon found its way to Medlin, who banked one in to make it a 36-28 game.

After Goddard’s Derek Carrica scored, Hightower canned a trey to bring Portales within seven. A Medlin free throw made it six, but five straight Goddard points stretched the Rockets’ lead to 45-34.

Portales wasn’t done, though, scoring eight straight points — a Rico Diaz layup, a Urioste jumper, a Taplin hoop, and with :5.7 seconds left, two Hightower free throws — that narrowed the deficit to 45-42.

Goddard turned the ball over with just about a second remaining, time only for a catch-and-shoot. Rico Diaz inbounded from the right side, finding Baylor Diaz open in the left corner. Baylor Diaz did catch, did shoot, but the attempt was just off and Goddard had prevailed.

“We had a chance,” McBroom said, “but that game was lost at the beginning.”

On the road

Both Ram teams hit a tough matchup Friday at Artesia, as the Bulldogs held off the Portales girls with a huge game from Taylee Rippee and not enough offense from the rest of the cast.

Rippee scored a season-high 38 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, but nobody else reached double figures for Portales. Riley Shillings had nine and Mattison Blakey five for Portales.

Artesia, meanwhile, had five players scored seven or more, led by Brehnan Davis’ 17 points.

“They are very well-rounded,” Fraze said. “They have size, they have lightning speed, they ahve shooters, they have ball-handlers.”

They also had physical play on Rippee. Fraze made his feelings known, and was rewarded with a fourth-quarter ejection. Assistants Emily Roberts and Tara Johnson will coach Portales Tuesday at Lovington.

Fraze said he was proud of the team for fighting back in the second half, but stressed it has to start games better.

“We started the game too soft,” Fraze said. “We did not match their aggressiveness in the first.That had us digging out of a hole.”

McBroom felt the Rams did enough to win on defense, but just didn’t make enough shots.

“It was a really competitive ballgame, right down to the end.,” McBroom said. “They just made a few more baskets than we did, and they made a few free throws to close it out.

“I was really pleased. I thought our kids bounced back well from Tuesday night. If we continue to play that way, we’ll win our share of games.”

The Rams, now in an 0-2 hole heading into Lovington, are concerned but not alarmed.

“Obviously, the Lovington game is important,” McBroom said. “But we’re not panicking. We’ve got a lot of games left. We still control our future.”

 
 

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