Portales girls ready for state tourney

Morgan Hill (32) tries to control a rebound in the second half of Friday’s game with Las Vegas Robertson. Hill controlled the rebound and Portales controlled the regional playoff game 64-20. (Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry)

By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — The Portales Lady Rams dominated the Robertson Lady Cardinals in a way that screamed, “enough already.”

The Lady Rams could have stopped with their 22 first-quarter points and still won Friday night. Instead, Portales poured it on, pounding Robertson 64-20 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Portales senior Morgan Hill led all scorers with 21 points and added six boards and four blocks.

The Rams (21-6) have not won a game by less than 35 points in almost a month. Hill said she is ready to get to Albuquerque and see some better competition.

“Heck, yeah,” Hill said about next week’s state tournament. “I was excited to play (Robertson) too. We’ve been playing Ruidoso and Lovington three times a piece, so it gets kind of boring playing the same people.”

The Lady Rams held a 43-16 lead at halftime, then kicked up the defense in the second half, holding the Lady Cardinals to four points after the break.

Ashley Hurtado led Robertson (8-19) with six points.

“We knew we had to make ourselves work,” Hill said. “We couldn’t just look up at the scoreboard and say, ‘We’re up by 20.’ We had to make ourselves work hard even though the scoreboard said we didn’t really have to.”

Portales senior Megan Kabrick scored 12 points and had six rebounds and freshman Tara Johnson scored 10 points.
Portales coach Brenda Gomez said she liked how her team played, even after the outcome was decided.

“I thought they played really good team ball,” she said. “I wasn’t really excited about the points, but I was excited about the passes we made to open people. We were very unselfish. Everybody got to touch it before we shot it most of the time.”

Gomez said she is not concerned if the Lady Rams have to jump into a tough game after winning so many blowouts.

“I think they will do well against competition,” Gomez said. “We just have to be ready to play and play to our potential.”
Robertson coach Aunna Bradley said she knew her team, which finished 11 games under .500, would have a tough time with the top-seeded Lady Rams.

“We knew if we wanted to compete with them, we had to stop their inside game,” Bradley said. “And we obviously didn’t do that. When they’d take a bad shot, we’d give them an easy second shot.”

After playing against Portales, Bradley does not like anyone’s chances of derailing the Lady Rams.

“They’re a very good team,” she said. “They’re very well coached, they’re disciplined, they play well together. I would look for them win it all.”