Lady Rams post sweep in Portales Shootout

Jan. 9—The Portales High girls certainly got rid of the bad taste in their mouths from a blowout loss on Tuesday at Texas Class 6A power Frenship.

The Lady Rams completed a three-game sweep in the Portales Shootout on Saturday, cruising past Las Vegas Robertson 55-30 as junior guards Myleigh Banda and Angel Ornelas combined for 34 points.

Portales (11-4) led just 33-27 late in the third quarter after 3-pointers by Robertson sisters Arianna and Natalia Martinez, but limited the Lady Cardinals to just three points the rest of the way.

"We got on a good little run," Lady Rams coach Wade Fraze said. "We got some deflections and steals on defense, which led to some fast breaks."

Banda finished with 20 points, including 11 after halftime, while Ornelas scored 10 of her 14 over the final two cantos. Banda added seven assists and six steals to her night's work.

Senior guard Audrey Paden led PHS in both rebounds, with six, and steals, with eight.

Fraze said his team's aggressive defense and willingness to run told the story.

"That's their (Lady Cardinals') game, really," he said. "They want to get you out of your game, but we didn't let them."

Arianna Martinez, an eighth-grader, was the only player in double digits for Robertson (5-5) with 13 points. She scored eight of them in the first half to help keep her team within striking distance.

In Saturday's early girls tilt, Carlsbad defeated Pojoaque 36-19.

The Lady Rams return to action on Friday night at Alamogordo.

Robertson 66, Portales 39 (boys) — The Cardinals entered the weekend as the No. 1 team in Class 3A according to MaxPreps, but they didn't really look like it until the finale.

Robertson (11-1) turned back Farwell 69-51 on Thursday and barely edged Pojoaque 67-65 on Friday, but the Cardinals looked the part of a top-ranked squad against the Rams. They revved up the heat on defense, forcing 25 turnovers and turning a lot of them into points.

"This is how we play," Robertson coach James Branch said. "I wish we'd done a better job throughout the week, but as long as we're winning it helps us build our confidence."

Leading 10-8, Robertson went on a 7-0 run spanning the first and second quarters, extended the margin to 32-18 by halftime and went up by 22 points just over three minutes into the third frame.

The Rams (9-5), who dropped two of three in the event, then tallied nine consecutive points to pull to 42-29 before the Cardinals dominated the final period.

"I expected a tough game from them," Branch said. "I think Portales is a good team."

Six-foot-5 freshman Nathan Gonzales scored 20 points for the Cardinals while his cousin, junior Jesse Gonzales, added 10. Junior forward Paxton Culpepper was the Rams' lone double-figure scorer with 21.

Branch, in his third season at the helm, said the Cardinals have faced district rival St. Michael's in each of the last two 3A state title games, winning in 2021 and losing last season.

"We have a tough district," he said. "I'm really fired up about trying to get back to the top (in 3A)."

Earlier on Saturday, Pojoaque upended Lovington 59-58.

The Rams were to return to action on Tuesday against Moriarty at the RAC. They host Clovis High on Friday night.