Portales’ 40-38 win over Ruidoso, coupled with New Mexico Military Institute’s 55-54 shocker over Lovington, marked an unexpected start to District 4-3A play Tuesday night.
Following Tuesday’s games, the district lead is a two-way tie between a pair of teams that are a combined 11-22. The two teams at the bottom of the district, Lovington and Ruidoso, are a combined 27-10.
Portales (6-11, 1-0) eliminated a 21-13 halftime deficit.
“We just had a horrible start,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “We came out and missed a lot of really good looks.”
Gallegos said the key was outscoring Ruidoso 17-11 in the third.
“We didn’t panic,” Gallegos said. “We came out and played one possession at a time.”
The game was tied at 38 with 40 seconds left, and Chris Carter found Seth Clabaugh (game-high 14 points) for a baseline layup. The Rams had a pair of defensive stops in the final seconds.
Carter added 12 for the Rams, while Russell Knudson had seven.
Garrett Born had 13 to lead Ruidoso, but nobody else scored more than six points for the Warriors, who had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
The Rams (6-11, 1-0) go to Lovington Friday night. In the worst case, Portales will be 1-1 in district going as it starts a four-game homestand next week.