By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Portales had four players score in double figures, as the Rams survived a late Robertson charge to hand the Cardinals their first loss of the season Tuesday night at Portales High School 57-54.
“I was proud of our kids for gutting it out,” Portales head coach Mark Gallegos said. “We’ll win ugly at this point in the year and that’s OK, because hopefully we can see the end of the road, and we can see that we have to get better, and we have to improve.”
Chance Sherburne and Skyler Partin paced the Rams with 15 points each. But Partin agreed the Rams have a lot of work to do.
“It was a sloppy game,” Partin said. “Both teams had a lot of guys coming off of a football state championship. We have a lot of work left to do, we have some guys injured, and we have to clean up our turnovers, we can improve a lot.”
Portales senior Cruz Ontiveros added 14, and went 8 for 10 from the free throw line, and Gallegos said Ontiveros was sick the entire game.
“Cruz was sick,” Gallegos said. “He couldn’t clear his throat, and that’s why I’m so proud of him, and some of our other young guys for playing.”
“We really played as a team tonight and that helped us out a lot,” Ontiveros said. “We’re not up to our capability yet, but we’ll get there.”
The Rams took a 8-4 lead into the second quarter, before going on an 11-3 run to take a 19-7 lead, but the Cardinals went on a run of their own to close out the first half, and crawl to within 4 points of Portales at halftime.
The Rams outscored the Cardinals 20-17 in the third quarter, including 8 points from Ontiveros.
The Cardinals hit several key 3-pointers in the fourth period, but they couldn’t take the lead in their late charge, and the Rams won their second game of the year, 57-54.
“We have to learn how to close games out a little better,” Gallegos said. “I thought we were OK on the glass. We’re going to get better, I like our kids attitudes.”
Robertson senior Ethan Maestas led the Cardinals with 11 points, followed by Ryan Chavarria and Isaiah Archuleta with 9 points each.
Portales senior Todd McBroom contributed 10 points, and Ky Mitchell added 3.
The Rams (2-1) host Carlsbad and Aztec on Friday and Saturday, before traveling to Clovis on Dec. 19.