Portales stepped out of district play on Friday and took care of a little unfinished business from back at the very beginning of the season. And, by winning a boys basketball contest 53-52 at home, the Rams also beat a quality opponent as well.
Roswell (14-5) came into the game as the third-ranked team in Class 4A, according to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association, and the visiting Coyotes had a chance at the end.
After Portales' Shawn Carrasco missed a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining, Roswell raced down the court on a fast break. But Coyotes' guard Keydrick Allen passed up a shot from the right side with :01 left and fed the ball to Jordan Wiggins racing in from the left side.
Wiggins' shot was good, but the ball was released after the buzzer sounded and Portales (13-7) came away with the win.
"He (Allen) should've taken it himself, but that's basketball," Roswell coach Britt Cooper said. "We took too long coming up the middle of the court ... took a second too long."
In the first game of the season, the Rams had lost a road contest at Roswell 72-55.
As Portales coach Mark Gallegos noted afterward, several of Portales' players were just coming off the Rams' football squad that had just won the Class 3A football state championship.
"It's a measuring stick for us. This lets us know where we're at," said Gallegos after the win. "Roswell High has got a legitimate shot at winning the 4A state championship. I really believe that."
Both teams missed several chances in the last minutes of the game. As it turned out, a pair of free throws by Billy Good with 41 seconds remaining were critical for the Rams.
Good had set up those shots, which made the score 53-50, by getting his hand on a Roswell pass with 1:35 on the clock and causing a turnover.
"I think we showed a lot of people what we're made of. We've just got to keep practicing," said Good, who finished with a game-high 17 points, while grabbing five rebounds.
Portales also got 11 points from Nick Bliss, who before fouling out with eight seconds left, kept Roswell's full-court press from being a major factor with his ball-handling.
Roswell was led by Peyton De La Cerda's 14 points ,while Andrew Aho and A.J. Peralta added 12 and 10, respectively.
De La Cerda connected on a pair of free throws with 35 seconds remaining to trim the Rams' lead down to one. Six missed attempts from the charity stripe, four from Portales and two by Roswell, marked the last 30 seconds of the ball game before the Coyotes' final fast break attempt.
"I think a lot of that was just being tired. Tired legs," said Gallegos of the errant free throws.
The Rams will resume district play with a home contest on Tuesday against Dexter.
Portales 53, Roswell 52
Peyton De La Cerda 14, Andrew Aho 12, A.J. Peralta 10, Marek Olesinski 8, Keydrick Allen 6, Lionel Zamarripa 2. Totals 16 15-25 52.
Billy Good 17, Nick Bliss 11, Shawn Carrasco 8, Walker Partin 8, Marcus Slocum 3, Will Archibeque 2, Jesus Davalos 2, Junior Olivas 2. Totals 18 11-16 53.
Roswell 17 11 17 7 — 52
Portales 16 14 17 6 — 53
3-point FG: P 6 (Good 3, Carrasco 2, Bliss); R 5 (De La Cerda 2, Olesinski 2, Aho). Fouls: P 19; R 14. Fouled Out: P, Bliss; R, Peralta.