PNT Staff Report
LAS VEGAS, NM — Playing short-handed, the Portales Rams picked up a 48-42 win here against Las Vegas Robertson to even their record at 4-4 going into the holiday break.
After three players were suspended this week for violating team rules, the Rams found themselves on the road with just eight men in the rotation. A few tweaks of his defense and his team’s patience at the end paid off for coach Mark Gallegos and the Rams.
With 2:30 to play Portales were down by six points. But patience, along with a well-timed steal with 46 seconds left gave the Rams a chance. Donovan Clark tied the game with a pair of free throws at the 30-second mark and then the Rams managed another steal and this time a pair from Jerod Long put Portales up for good.
“We had some kids that really stepped up tonight,” Gallegos said. “The effort really showed that we played as a team.”
With just eight players, Gallegos took his team out of their usual pressure man-to-man and played half court zone against the (3-3) Cardinals except at the very end.
Gallegos noted the play of Todd McBroom, a junior varsity reserve, who saw significant playing time on Monday. McBroom stepped in and made two critical 3-pointers, according to Gallegos.
The game was tight in the first half with Portales successfully limiting Robertson in offense. By the break the score was only 18-18.
“We planned on slowing it down,” Gallegos said. “Our goal was to hold them to 32 points.”
The Rams would have hit that goal had it not been for a dismal third period that saw the Cards break lose for 19 points, their best period of the evening.
“It was a big win for us to come up with tonight,” Gallegos said after the game. “It instills some confidence going into the break.”
Long led all scorers with 16 points on the night. Ram Chris Aikens had 12, Jonathon Garcia got eight and McBroom had six.
Marion Ulibarri was the sole Cardinal in double digit scoring with 14 points.
The Rams are off until after Christmas, when they return to Las Vegas for the Stu Clark Tournament Dec. 28-30.