Lady Ram junior Tara Johnson takes a jump shot against Carlsbad in Portales’ home opener. Johnson and the Rams are at Clovis’ Plateau Holiday Classic at 4 p.m. today.
Both the Portales boys and girls basketball teams return from the holiday break today in tournament play. The Lady Rams in Clovis at the Plateau Holiday Classic and the Rams at the Stu Clark Tournament in Las Vegas, N.M.
The Clovis High girls basketball team has dominated its Plateau Holiday Classic tournament, winning each of the previous four titles. Their work is cut out for them trying to make it five in a row.
The 3-5 Portales Lady Rams, under first-year head coach Clay Stout, will take on 9-1 Alamogordo in a 4 p.m. game in the north gym.
After a stinging 40-24 loss to the Class 4A Moriarty Lady Pintos (6-1) on Dec. 21, Portales will be looking to get things back on track during the tournament.
“We played a pretty tough road game series and we felt pretty good coming back from the Rio Rancho tournament,” Stout said. “We came back home and suffered a big loss to Moriarty though. It’s just going to take some time to put things together.”
Stout said he expects a tough game against Alamogordo (9-1), a team he describes as deep and athletic. He said Alamogordo will run the press and try to wear Portales down physically.
Clovis and Gadsden are in the same bracket with Highland and Fairbanks, Alaska-based Lathrop, who meet in the day’s first game at 10 a.m. In the opposite bracket, unbeaten Texico (8-0) faces Cibola at 2:45 p.m. and Portales takes on Alamogordo in a 4 p.m. game in the north gym.
The Portales Rams will travel quite a bit further north in their first appearance on the hardwood since before Christmas. They will be among eight teams competing at the 54th annual Stu Clark Tournament in Las Vegas, N.M.
Portales coach Mark Gallegos said his 0-3 Rams are starting to pull things together in practice and are looking for big improvement. They’ll get tested right out of the box at Stu Clark as they take on defending Class 4A state champion St. Pius (5-2) at 1 p.m. today.
“They return pretty well everybody off that championship team,” Gallegos said. “They don’t do anything flashy, they just play good solid man-to-man. They’ll definitely give us a test. But that’s why we go there — to get tested.”
Other teams at the tournament include Artesia, Bernalillo, Pojoaque, Robertson, Shiprock and West Las Vegas.