By Jesse Wolfersberger
ALBUQUERQUE — Needing only one win to clinch a spot in the Class 3A state tournament finals, Portales coach Mark Gallegos said he’s glad the team had Thursday off.
“It’s nice to have a day off,” Gallegos said. “We’re going to go back to Bernalillo and work out. You get a chance to enjoy it a little bit and work on things a little bit.”
The third-seeded Rams (16-11) meet second-seeded Grants (23-5) at 9:45 a.m. today at The Pit in Albuquerque.
Grants advanced by downing seventh-seeded Pojoaque 52-50 on Wednesday.
Gallegos said one of the things he wanted to work on during the day off was defending the Pirates’ senior guard trio of Joshua Grine, Matthew Ross and Joseph Leyba.
“They returned basically everybody from last year,” Gallegos said. “They’ve played together for a long time, so they’re pretty good. They’ve got a good inside game and outside game.
“We’re going to have to do some different things defensively, and we’ll work on that (Thursday) to be prepared for (today).”
The Rams defeated District 4-3A rival Ruidoso 56-48 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to advance.
The Portales coach said he was happy with Wednesday’s effort, but he was concerned about his starters picking up early fouls.
“I didn’t like that we got in foul trouble,” Gallegos said. “Jerrod (Long) can’t be on the bench, Daniel (Boan) can’t be on the bench. Those things happen sometimes, but we’ve got to be smart.”
Gallegos said senior guard Chris Adkins, who scored a game-high 16 against the Warriors, will continue to be a major factor in the tournament.
“This is Chris Adkins’ time of year,” he said. “He’s been here before, he knows what to do. He’s one of those seniors that just wants the ball and wants to put us on his back and carry us.”