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

Lady Rams lock up district crown


Last updated 2/19/2022 at 11:16am

ARTESIA — Any doubt — and there was very little, really — that the Portales High girls would capture another District 4-4A championship was put to rest on Tuesday night.

Although the Lady Rams struggled a bit to finish off Artesia, they were never really in trouble and pulled away late to complete a 64-45 victory and clinch their seventh district title in the last eight years.

Portales (18-5, 5-0 district), which was ranked fourth in Class 4A this week by MaxPreps and wrapped up its regular campaign on Friday at last-place Lovington, slowly opened the margin during the first three stanzas before outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 15-6 over the final eight minutes.

PHS coach Wade Fraze wasn’t terribly happy with his team’s play early, particularly on defense.

“We didn’t play a good first half,” he said. “We didn’t rebound and we played poor defense.”

Still, the Lady Rams led 31-26 at the break, and stretched that out to 10 by the end of the third canto.

With an injury sidelining senior guard Riley Shillings for the season, Portales has relied more heavily on its other three returning senior starters. They delivered against Artesia (11-13, 2-3), with Kylyie Paden notching a double-double with a personal-best 22 points and 10 rebounds while Teagan Faust and Taris Rippee netted 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Faust, who delivered three of the team’s five 3-point baskets, also had nine rebounds, six assists and five steals, while Rippee added eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

Meantime, Fraze said the player filling in for Shillings, senior Emma Gonzales, made a solid contribution as well.

“Emma Gonzales played a really strong game,” he said.

Junior guard Koda Beltran led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, including three of Artesia’s five 3s. Sophomore post Lorin Wagner added 14 and junior guard Audrey Belo 12.

Artesia 71, PHS boys 62 — The Rams got off to a good start and led much of the contest, including by 10 points early. Artesia, though, erased a six-point halftime deficit with 42 points over the final two frames, including a 16-8 edge in the final stanza.

Senior guard Kaden Hightower led Portales (10-13, 0-5) with 16 points, while junior guard Davian Lucero and senior post Greydon Rigsby had 10 apiece.

“We had a good game play, and we executed it well,” Rams coach Randy McBroom said. “We were right there; we battled the whole game. At the end, they just made a few more shots than we did.

“They’re a good team. Their size really hurt us.”

Junior guard Nick Sanchez and junior forward Rylee Jarrett knocked in 16 points each for Artesia (13-11, 3-2), while senior guard Jake Berrara added three 3-pointers and 11 points.

“Nick Sanchez played really well the last part of the game,” McBroom said. “He was either scoring or assisting on about every basket.”

The Bulldogs finished with nine 3s in the contest to seven for PHS.

After Friday’s game at Lovington, the Rams were slated to host a non-district makeup game on Saturday against New Mexico Military at the RAC to complete the regular year.


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