The Portales Rams boys basketball team will know where it stands after playing in the Shallowater Shootout Tournament this weekend.
The Rams tip-off their season in the Texas tournament with an 11:30 a.m. game today against the Class 2A Tulia Hornets.
“They (Tulia) are young, very athletic and they get up and down the court very well,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “They are returning everybody from last year’s team. I’m a little worried about our conditioning. We missed some practices due to sickness. Some of our players were struck with the flu.”
Portales won the first game of the Shallowater tournament last year against Tulia then lost the next two.
The Rams won the Shallowater tournament in 2001, the year they won the Class 3A state championship.
The Rams have three players returning who saw playing time on the varsity team last season.
Guards Chris Carter and Chris Kirchner, guard and post Russell Knudson all saw limited playing time on last season’s team that finished 13-14.
Carter is looking forward to an expanded role.
“Last year I didn’t figure out my role until the middle of the season,” Carter said. “I didn’t have a big role. I came off the bench and gave everybody a lift. This year I’m a leader. I have to control the game and the momentum. My teammates expect me to get it done.”
Portales lost four starters and seven players to graduation.
“Everybody expects us to be the underdogs because of the players we lost,” Carter said. “I like that role. We can show everybody how good we are.”
Seth Clabaugh, a senior, is back on the basketball court after not playing the last two seasons.
“He missed it (basketball),” Gallegos said. “He’s picked up the system pretty good. We have a lot of kids on the team that can play different roles. We’re not very big, but our players are interchangeable.”
Three players are listed at 6-foot 2-inches or taller on the 13-man roster.
“It’s big for us to get off to a good start,” Carter said. “It will give us confidence. We’ll be able to gauge where we are at. We’ve been busting our butts for the last two weeks. This will be a good evaluation for us.”