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

Big run lifts Portales girls past Artesia


February 9, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Portales guard Taris Rippee drives to the basket as Artesia defender Kaylee Wagner just avoids contact in the first quarter of Friday's District 4-4A contest at the Ram Athletic Center.

PORTALES - Things were a little shaky early for the Portales High girls on Friday night. But not for long.

Trailing 9-4, the Lady Rams erupted for 17 unanswered points and never looked back in a 54-34 District 4-4A victory over Artesia at the Ram Athletic Center.

Portales stretched its winning streak to seven games heading into Saturday night's makeup of Tuesday's snowout at Roswell Goddard.

PHS extended its run to 25-4 before the Lady Bulldogs' Elliot Harrison hit a 3-pointer with just four seconds left cut Artesia's halftime deficit to 29-16.

"We weren't playing very good defense or rebounding to start with," Lady Rams coach Wade Fraze said. "When we started (to do that), that's what turned the tide."

It appeared that PHS (15-6, 1-0 district) may have gone a bit conservative after the intermission, committing 10 of its 14 turnovers over the final two stanzas. Nonetheless, the margin never fell under double figures during that time.

"I think we kind of got settled in and got into our rhythm," junior forward Kinzie Davis said, referring to the slow start. "We just really started to focus on finding the open man."

The young, guard-oriented Lady Rams relied a bit more on their inside pieces in this one. Sophomore forward Kylyie Paden finished with 14 points - nine in the fourth quarter - and five rebounds, and Davis added 10 points - all in the first half - and four boards.

Meantime, junior center Alexis Ryen had nine points - all before halftime - and grabbed five caroms.

"That's our strength," Fraze said. "We don't really have a 'go-to' kid. On any given night, we have multiple kids who can score."

The Lady Bulldogs (9-12, 0-2) switched between an aggressive man-to-man defense and a 1-3-1 zone. They limited PHS to just three 3-point field goals in the game, a bit below its average.

But the Lady Rams more than held their own inside and on the glass.

"In practice, we've really been working on blockout drills," Davis said. "I think we just settled into our style of ball."

Sophomore guards Taris Rippee and Riley Shillings each had four of Portales' 11 assists.

After going six minutes without a field goal to start the second half, Artesia got baskets from Ashley Hogan and Makinli Taylor down the stretch to pull to 37-22. The closest the Lady Bulldogs got, though, was 40-30 with just over four minutes remaining.

Harrison finished with 13 points for Artesia, but no one else scored more than four for the Lady Bulldogs.

Portales returns to the RAC on Tuesday night to entertain rival Lovington.


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