By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
RIO RANCHO — Witnessing Clovis’ destruction of Del Norte on Thursday didn’t do much for the Portales Lady Rams on Friday. The fact was they didn’t have to do much themselves to achieve a similar victory.
In the consolation bracket of the Mel Otero Invite, Portales (3-3) blasted the Knights 57-19 to move into Saturday’s 3 p.m. fifth-place game against Los Lunas, which edged host Rio Rancho in triple overtime on Friday.
Coaches and players alike generally hope to get something out of every game, even blowouts. Portales senior Megan Kabrick, who scored eight points on Friday, thought the Del Norte game did not offer that kind of possibility.
“I don’t think we did,” Kabrick said. “I think we just kind of watched Clovis kill ’em, so we thought, ‘Well, we don’t have to play hard.’ Honestly, we need to play hard. We should have played hard today to get ready for (Los Lunas) tomorrow.
“Coach said that tomorrow we need to step our game up. We need to play with discipline and do everything that we have been doing in practice.”
Against Del Norte (0-7), the game was relatively close until the start of the second quarter. When the Knights’ Nina Ruiz hit a shot to open that period, that cut the Portales lead to 15-7.
But a Morgan Hill bucket was followed by a baseline jumper from Briana Hernandez started a 17-0 run and stretched the Lady Rams’ lead back to double-digits.
Hill led Portales with 13 points while Ashleah Richards scored nine. Del Norte was paced by Linlea Harrison’s six points.
“Coach (Brenda Gomez) tells us that, no matter who we’re playing, we have to play Portales Rams basketball,” Richards said. “So we just try to play hard. We didn’t play like we were supposed to sometimes today, but it was good overall, I guess.”
The 35-point mercy rule, which allows for a running clock in the second half, went into effect with 3:32 left in the third after Bethany Self hit a pair of free throws.