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

Rams stay in 4-5A hunt

Win over Lovington keeps hopes for No. 1 seed alive.


February 19, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Portales sophomore guard Hagen Rains drives the baseline against Lovington defender Jared Jeffrey in the second half of Saturday's District 4-4A contest at the Ram Athletic Center. Rains had five points in Portales' 69-59 win.

PORTALES — By winning twice at home over the weekend, the Portales High boys basketball team has given itself a chance to still earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 4-4A tournament.

It’s a long shot, especially when you drop the first two of six games, but the Rams at least have a chance.

Junior Kenevan Bailey scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Saturday as PHS pulled away in the final three minutes to beat Lovington 58-48 at the Ram Athletic Center, the team’s second district win at the RAC in two nights. They beat Roswell Goddard 69-59 on Friday night.

Saturday’s tilt was the makeup of a game postponed twice because of weather issues.

Admittedly, there’s still work to do — namely, beating district-leading Artesia on Tuesday night and Lovington on Friday, both on the road.

“We put ourselves back in the race this weekend,” McBroom said. “Now we’ve got two more, and we’ve got to go out and play as hard as we can.”

Both teams were coming off Friday outings, and seemed a bit sluggish at times. But the Rams (10-14, 2-2) kept the lead most of the way, and finally finished the Wildcats (12-11, 0-4) with their game-ending 9-0 run — five of the points coming from sophomore guard Hagen Rains, including a 3-pointer — after Lovington closed to 49-48 with 2:54 left.

“We played as hard as we can, but the shots weren’t falling,” Lovington coach Casey Pack said. “Sometimes you try to push things too fast, and tonight we did that.”

Bailey had three 3-pointers, including two in the third quarter to erase Lovington’s only lead of the night (32-31) and put the Rams ahead for good (37-34).

Senior guard Kellan Hightower added 14 points and six rebounds, while junior forward Josiah Tellez chipped in 10 points for the Rams. Senior guard Rico Diaz collected seven assists and five rebounds.

Whether or not they get the No. 1 seed in the district meet, McBroom said playing well in the final two regular-season tilts is important when looking ahead to the postseason.

“We need to finish as high as we can because of the (state) seeding,” he said.

Portales had a good night from the line, going 10-for-13 in the final quarter and 14-of-20 overall.

“We work on free throws every day,” McBroom said. “It’s just nice to be back in the (district) race.”

Senior forward Kobe Salcido was Lovington’s lone double-digit scorer, finishing with 11 points.


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