Wildcats welcome Portales

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

With several key players back from injury, Portales basketball coach Mark Gallegos wants to see if his Rams can deliver against a quality program. He’ll find out tonight as the Rams face the undefeated Clovis Wildcats at Rock Staubus Gym in Clovis.

Clovis (6-0) features a three-guard lineup of junior Jaden Isler and Bryce Hill and senior Cody Thornsbury.

The Cats beat Goddard 66-57 Saturday for the second time in two weeks.

Portales junior Chris Mosier and senior post Erett Grubbs are back in the fold after healing from football injuries. Tonight’s game will be Mosier’s third contest back in action while Grubbs will see his second game action tonight against Clovis.

“(Tonight’s game) will be a good test to kind of see where we’re at,” Gallegos said.
Clovis won each of its games by an average of 22.3 points, with the Rockets the only team able to keep the margin in single digits.

Gallegos thinks the Rams (3-2) will be ready for the challenge.

“(Clovis) has shot the three-pointer so well,” Gallegos said. “They’ve really, really shot the ball really well, and we can’t let them get going from the outside. We’re going to try as much as possible to contain them, and not give them any easy looks at the basket from the three-point line.

“We’ve got to get back in transition,” Gallegos said. “They put so much pressure on the defense, not so much with what their half-court offense is, but they get the ball up the floor and they really put the pressure on you to hustle back.”
Gallegos said Clovis is strong inside as well.

“Everybody said Clovis shoots the ball so well, but their inside kids: Michael Lewis and Layne Strebeck, they’ve been playing real well inside, too.”

Portales is coming off a 40-35 win Saturday over Aztec.

“(Preparation) is real important,” Gallegos said. “That’s why we’re trying to cover a lot of stuff in one day. And it’s good for us because we learn that if we can be prepared playing a school like (Clovis), when it comes time for district, we’re focused.”