Rams waltz past two foes in Shoot Out

By Dave Wagner

The Portales High Rams might have buried Bernalillo early Friday night, but they struggled to get shots down.
Their problems, though, paled with what the Spartans were going through.
Portales held Bernalillo to just four field goals in the first 23 1/2 minutes and cruised to a 55-37 win over the defending Class 3A state champions in the Ram Shoot Out at the PHS gym.
On Saturday, the Rams completed a weekend sweep and improved to 8-5 for the season by beating Artesia 59-46 behind 19 points from senior guard Chris Carter.
Senior Chris Kirchner and junior Daniel Aranda scored 14 points each against Bernalillo, but the Rams allowed the Spartans to hang around for a while because they missed a number of open shots.
It didn’t really make much difference, though, in their second win in less than two weeks over the Spartans.
“We have to put people away,” PHS boys coach Mark Gallegos said. “I told our kids, ‘If you’re going to work that hard (on defense), you’ve got to be able to finish.’
“I’m real happy with our defensive effort. Offensively, we’ve just got to knock down some jumpers.”
Aranda, who scored a season high, said the Rams are coming around but need to be more proficient on offense.
“We need to get the mentality to put teams away when we get them down,” he said. “But we’re starting to play better. We have to learn how to play better as a team, and we’re starting to do that.
“I just come out looking to do what I can to help the team. If one person has a bad night, any of our other guards can step up and score.”
Bernalillo (8-7) hasn’t been able to replace the loss of its two players from last season to graduation. The Spartans missed three shots and committed nine turnovers before scoring their only basket of the first quarter — a layup behind PHS pressure from senior Pierre Williams with 2:55 left in the period.
They didn’t get their second basket until Keith Benally’s 3-pointer put them in double figures (27-10) in the final minute of the half.
“Portales came out and put a good (defense) on us early,” Bernalillo coach Terry Darnell said. “They’ve definitely had our number this year.
“We just aren’t improving. We play scared, and when some shots don’t fall we tend to panic.”
Portales led 45-16 late in the third quarter and cruised with subs playing much of the final eight minutes.
Williams finished with a team-high nine points for Bernalillo, although he had to sit a considerable portion of the game with foul trouble.

PHS 59, Artesia 46 — The Rams controlled play against the Bulldogs (5-6), taking a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter and then salting it away by sinking 12-of-14 free throws.
Other than Carter, the offense was pretty well spread out. Aranda also reached double figures with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Gallegos noted that 6-foot-3 junior post Daniel Boan took three charges in the contest.
“Those are the types of things that mean a lot to us,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our defense.”
Josh Pollard led Artesia with 18 points, all but two coming in the fourth quarter.
The Rams are gearing up for a challenging week — they host once-beaten Clovis on Tuesday night, then play at Roswell High on Thursday.
“This may be the best team we play all year long on Tuesday night,” Gallegos said. “We’ve got a tough week coming up, and that’ll tell us where we’re at.”

Friday
Portales 55, Bernalillo 37
Bernalillo (8-7) —
Bobby Trujillo 0 0-0 0, Marty Sanchez 0 0-0 0, Manuel Ross 0 2-3 2, Craig Sanchez 1 0-0 2, Eric Tafoya 1 2-4 4, Keith Benally 1 1-4 4, Addison Rocha 2 2-2 8, Paul Wiggans 0 0-0 0, Anthony Jaramillo 0 0-1 0, Kyle Aragon 0 1-2 1, Pierre Williams 3 3-5 9, Noe Favela 3 1-1 7. Totals 11 12-22 37.
Portales (7-5) — Cruz Ontiveros 0 1-2 1, Daniel Aranda 7 0-1 14, Josh Gonzales 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Garcia 1 0-0 2, Chris Kirchner 4 6-8 14, Bo Gabriel 3 0-0 6, Trevor Ferguson 1 0-0 2, Chris Adkins 1 0-3 2, Daniel Boan 2 0-1 4, Chris Carter 3 0-0 6, Tyler Johnson 0 0-0 0, Chris Smith 2 0-1 4. Totals 24 7-16 55.
Bernalillo 2 8 10 17 — 37
Portales 8 19 18 10 — 55
3-pointers — Bernalillo (3): Rocha 2, Benally. Portales: none.

Saturday
Portales 59, Artesia 46
Artesia (5-6) —
Mike Perez 0 0-0 0, Daniel Hernandez 0 0-0 0, David Adams 0 0-0 0, Bryan Mondragon 2 0-0 6, Scott Roy 2 1-2 5, Quintin Navarette 0 0-0 0, Dustin McLarg 0 1-2 1, Matt Moreno 1 0-0 3, A’ Jay Booker 5 0-0 11, Josh Pollard 7 4-5 18, Trey Rich 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 6-9 46.
Portales (8-5) — Cruz Ontiveros 0 3-4 3, Daniel Aranda 4 0-0 10, Josh Gonzales 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Garcia 0 0-0 0, Chris Kirchner 3 3-4 9, Bo Gabriel 3 0-0 6, Trevor Ferguson 1 2-2 4, Chris Adkins 2 2-2 6, Daniel Boan 1 0-0 2, Chris Carter 6 5-5 19, Tyler Johnson 0 0-0 0, Chris Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 15-17 59.
Artesia 6 11 8 21 — 46
Portales 15 12 13 19 — 59
3-pointers — Artesia (4): Mondragon 2, Booker, Moreno. Portales (4): Aranda 2, Carter 2.