If Portales wins No. 5, they’d be upset to end up No. 4.
The Rams, 8-0 in District 4-3A, are looking to win their fifth-consecutive district championship as they play host to Lovington in a 7 p.m. matchup at the Ram Athletic Center.
If the Rams beat Lovington (12-13) for the third time this season, they will be 19-8 on the year with 15 wins in their final 17 regular season games — strong credentials when the Class 3A state tournament’s 16-team field is seeded on Sunday.
“If we win tomorrow night, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get a No. 3 seed,” Gallegos said. “I know everybody’s saying Hope (Christian, 23-3) and St. Michael’s (19-7) are 1 and 2, but I don’t think we should be below 3.”
Both of tonight’s participants will receive berths in next week’s state tournament, and Gallegos thinks 4-3A should receive two more entrants — Ruidoso, who lost 43-41 to Lovington in Thursday’s district semifinal, and Dexter, which finished strong enough to get the No. 16 seed in Gallegos’ mind.
But Lovington presents some challenges before the seeding committee has its say, with Robert Hargrove playing the role of efficient point guard and Matt DeKraker handing the post duties.
“They really can shoot the 3, and they’ve got great size inside,” Gallegos said. “They can play a lot of different ways and be effective.”
Lovington has won four of five, with their lone loss at Portales, 72-54 on Feb. 13. Portales also won the regular season matchup at Lovington 45-40.