Lady Rams win opener
Published: Tuesday, November 27th, 2007
For the first time in 22 years, the Portales Lady Ram basketball team opened their season without Brenda Gomez on the bench, and while the coach was different, the result was much the same. The Portales girls made first-year coach Clay Stout’s debut a successful one with a 49-37 win against Carlsbad Tuesday night in Portales. “I thought we played good,” junior guard Tara Johnson said. “We shared the ball and that’s good.” Johnson led the Lady Rams with a game-high 14 points, followed by sophomore forward Jenna Wagner’s 10 points. Forward Bethany Self added 9 points and fellow senior Vicki Huber contributed 8 points. The =opener turned into a foul fest, as both teams were whistled for a total of 41 fouls, including 24 on Portales. Self and Wagner collected five fouls each and fouled out in the third quarter. “I told them before the game, I said, ‘We can play great man defense, but you can’t let your adrenaline and the excitement of the first game get a hold of you because then we’ll get in foul trouble,’” Stout said, “and that’s what happened. We kind of got in foul trouble, we got away from the offense a little bit, but even at that, I thought the kids finally got their composure and started doing things right, so I was really proud of them.” Portales quickly jumped out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter 14-4, thanks in-part to Johnson’s five first quarter points, but Carlsbad outscored the Lady Rams in the second period 11-9 and Portales went into the half up 23-15. “We had spurt shooting, which we figured we might. We shot the ball pretty decently early and then our shot selection wasn’t great, so our shots kind of fell down,” Stout said. “I think for the first game, you kind of expect that. But we’ve got some great shooters.” The Lady Rams (1-0) led after three quarters 33-24. In the fourth quarter, the Portales girls countered a nine-point quarter from Carlsbad junior forward Vianca Villegas with their best scoring quarter, 16 points, to take the 49-37 win. Junior shooting guard Stephanie Franks led the Cavegirls with 12 points, followed by Villegas’ 11 points. After his first game on the Portales bench, Stout described his emotions as somewhat routine. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve coached 1,000 games. Every game is the same for me. Every game is exciting, and I’m nervous before every game. That’s the fun thing about coaching basketball. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first game or if you’ve coached a thousand games. It’s fun and it’s exciting.” Portales is off more than a week before traveling to Clovis Dec. 7. “I knew it was going to be a little rocky because we’ve only had the kids for four days,” Stout said. “They’ve done a great job of making adjustments. They’re such a great group of girls.” “It was important (to win the first game) because everyone wants to beat us anyway because we’re Portales,” Johnson said.
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