RUIDOSO – In the first half of their District 4-4A showdown, Feb. 10, Ruidoso’s boys were making Portales sweat.
The Rams may have led for most of the first and second quarters, but Ruidoso kept hanging around and were down by just a point thanks to a buzzer-beating three by Loren Mendez.
But then came the third quarter, and the Warriors scored just five points en route to a 61-40 loss.
“We played pretty good basketball for about 2½ quarters,” said Ruidoso coach Billy Page. “We worked all week to eliminate the turnovers, and good possessions. And to keep them from getting second chances. We did that in the first half.”
Ruidoso (11-12, 2-4 district) allowed the first five points of the game as the Rams (19-3, 5-1) took control early, but the Warriors eventually took the lead on a Josiah Polendo three, and stayed close the rest of the half.
But rebounds ended up being the real difference, as Jereme Karngboye led the game with 17 boards, many of them offensive.
Indeed, a great many of the Rams’ points in the second half were putbacks after Portales misses.
“Jereme Karngboye is a great player for our class, he crashes the boards hard,” Page said. “I think he had three or four rebounds in the first half. In the second half, he had four in the first possession.”
In the end, Kangboye also had 20 points to lead the Rams, while Braden Bridges added 10.
Mendez was the only Warrior in double figures with 13 points. Center Josh Romero had an uncharacteristic night with just eight points.
From the very first, Ruidoso’s Lady Warriors were outmatched in their 58-15 loss.
Portales (14-8, 3-2 district) went up 9-0 before a layup by Lia Mosher finally put Ruidoso on the board.
The Rams were able to take and hold such a big lead mostly because of Ruidoso’s inability to hold on to the ball.
“Portales have been defensive monsters for a while because of their quickness and ability to get to the ball,” said Ruidoso coach Jason Kampsky. “But also, nerves got to us. This was the last time for our seniors these girls would play in this gym.”
Between steals and turnovers, the Lady Warriors (4-20, 0-5) lost the ball 41 times on the night.
Zamorye Cox was the biggest headache for Ruidoso, as she came up with 13 steals and scored 19 points to lead the Rams. Taylee Rippee added 17 points.
Mosher was also shut down, putting in just nine points for the Lady Warriors.
“We played as best we could, and the ball didn’t bounce our way today, it bounced Portales’ way instead,” Kampsky said.