By Dave Wagner
With three starters lost to graduation and facing the usual challenging schedule, Portales High girls basketball coach Brenda Gomez realized her team’s 23-4 record of a year ago would be hard to match.
Still, she admits to being a bit impatient when it comes to gauging the progress of her 2004-05 squad, which at 4-5 has already exceeded last season’s loss total.
“We’re not progressing in leaps and bounds,” said Gomez, who has won four Class 3A state championships in her 18 years at PHS, including two in a row and three in the past four seasons. “We’re getting better, but I thought we’d progress faster.
“I really believe we have the capability of winning the whole thing again this year, but we’ve got to practice at that level and play every game at that level.”
The Lady Rams, coming off a nice road win over Moriarty 33-30 on Dec. 18, have taken a few days off from practice late this week for the Christmas holiday. They figure to be challenged again in Clovis’ Plateau Holiday Classic, opening the three-day tournament with a 9 a.m. quarterfinal clash against Farmington on Monday.
Senior guard Patty Terry agreed with her coach that the Lady Rams’ progress isn’t as fast as they’d like.
“Everybody’s figuring everybody out,” she said. “We want everything to happen all at once, even though we know it’s not going to happen that way. But every game we’re getting better.”
PHS and the Lady Scorpions played each other during a summer camp at Eastern New Mexico University. Gomez said Farmington won that matchup, although Terry doesn’t remember much about it.
“We played a lot of teams in that camp,” she said.
Gomez said the Lady Scorpions, who went into a Friday night home game against Kearns (Utah) with a 4-3 record, will provide a solid test.
“Farmington is good; they’re big and physical, with some good outside shooters,” she said. “Our competition will definitely help us get to the level we need when we get to district.”
Portales lost to host Clovis in last year’s Plateau championship game after beating the Clovis junior varsity and Rio Rancho in the first two rounds.
“As long as we play good and give it everything we’ve got, we can accept whatever happens,” Terry said. “If we just do those things, I think we should do fine.”
Plateau Holiday Classic
Farmington vs. Portales, 9 a.m.
Rio Rancho vs. Carlsbad, 1 p.m.
La Cueva vs. Gadsden, 2:45 p.m.
Abilene (Texas) Cooper vs. Clovis, 6:30 p.m.
La Cueva-Gadsden loser vs. Cooper-Clovis loser, 9 a.m.
Rio Rancho-Carlsbad loser vs. Farmington-Portales loser, 1 p.m.
Rio Rancho-Carlsbad winner vs. Farmington-Portales winner, 2:45 p.m.
La Cueva-Gadsden winner vs. Cooper-Clovis winner, 6:30 p.m.
7th place, 10:45 a.m.
5th place, 9 a.m.
3rd place, 1 p.m.
Championship, 6:30 p.m.