Late steals seal Rams’ win at Carlsbad

Freedom Newspapers

CARLSBAD — Chris Adkins scored five consecutive points to break a 34-34 tie, and Cruz Ontiveros added a pair of late steals for Portales to secure a 44-39 upset win Friday over Class 5A Carlsbad.

The Rams (9-7) led through most of the game after taking a 14-6 first-quarter advantage, but saw the Cavemen rally and even things up with 3:47 to play. Adkins hit a pair of free throws to break the tie, then put Portales up five on the next possession with a transition 3-pointer, helping the Rams win their second straight game.

“It was a good win against a good team,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “Chris Adkins’ 3 right there was huge.”

With a chance to put the game away, the Rams missed three of five free throws over the next 1:30, but Ontiveros notched steals on two straight Carlsbad possessions. Ontiveros hit a pair of free throws to put Portales up 43-39 with 28 seconds left, and Carlsbad never got closer.

“I was pleased (with the way we played) down the stretch,” Gallegos said. “We kind of held it together in the fourth quarter. Cruz’ two free throws were huge.”

Daniel Aranda led the Rams with 11 points, while Daniel Boan and Adkins each had eight.

Joshua Miller, who fouled out for Carlsbad with 28 seconds left, led all scorers with 16 points.

Alex Bustos, who scored 31 in Carlsbad’s win over Onate earlier this week, was held to two points by Portales’ box-and-one defense. Zach Mendez added eight for the Cavemen.

“Sometimes when go box-and-one,” Gallegos said, “there are going to be jumpers that open up, and they did a good job hitting the mid-range jump shot.”

The Rams stay on the road, with a game Tuesday night at Tucumcari. Gallegos said the team has many goals set to keep the Rattlers from being a trap game before the Rams host 4A Roswell Thursday.

“I told the kids we can’t look past them,” Gallegos said. “Roswell may be the best team in 4A, but we can’t look past (Tucumcari).”