When you’re trying to match the muscle and physicality of a team like Portales’ Lady Rams, you need all hands on deck if possible.
That wasn’t the case Friday night for Robertson, which lost its home opener 45-36 while missing the services of three key players, all sidelined by injuries.
Portales improved to 7-2 while Robertson slipped to 4-2.
Both squads entered the weekend ranked in the middle of the Class 3A Top 10 — RHS at No. 5, Portales No. 6.
The Lady Cards took the first lead of the night after a Chaylene Sena putback and two free throws by Kendra Montoya made it 4-0. Robertson’s defense was strong in denying the visitors any scoring through the first four minutes and 35 seconds.
But Hannah Cissell ended that drought by hitting a three-pointer at the 3:25 mark, and Sheraya Cox followed that up with another three-ball to stake Portales to a 6-4 advantage.
Although Robertson would tie the score three times — at 6-6 on an Abbey Bradley bucket, at 8-8 on Bradley’s forceful drive to the hoop, and at 10-10 on Miranda Segura’s score to open the second period — the Lady Cardinals would not lead again.
With stout junior post Savannah Vincent manning the middle, the Lady Rams controlled the lane for much of the game.
Cox and Kambrey Blakey scored four points apiece in the pivotal second quarter as Portales finished the period on a 10-3 run to grab a 20-13 halftime lead.
Montoya converted four consecutive free throws early in the third period to bring Robertson within 22-17, and Sena labored for an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a four-point game at 24-20 with 3:56 left in the quarter.
Blakey countered with an old-school three on the other end. By the end of the quarter it was 33-23 after Cox scored off a dribble penetration move.
Portales led by as many as 14 in the final quarter.
Robertson made a run in the closing minutes, with Montoya scoring layups on back-to-back possessions and Sena driving for a basket after a Bradley steal at midcourt. Sena’s score made it 44-36.
Unofficial scoring, Portales: Sheraya Cox, 14; Kambrey Blakey, 11; Savannah Vincent, 11; Hannah Cissell, 5; Kacie Terry, 4
Robertson: Kendra Montoya, 13; Chaylene Sena, 9; Abbey Bradley, 7; Santana Aragon, 3; Miranda Segura, 2; Erica Herrera, 1; Amber Yara, 1
RHS head coach Rick Armijo said the most severe injury belongs to Chantel Sena, who has been among the Lady Cardinal team leaders.
The team plays next in a tournament hosted by Roswell’s Goddard High School. The tourney runs from Wednesday through Friday.
Española boys 62, Robertson 48
In a game originally scheduled for Tuesday the 18th, the host Sundevils rolled to their 10th win in 12 games on Friday night.
Española, a contender in Class 4A, also owns wins over two other area teams — West Las Vegas and Mora.
A call to RHS coach Manuel Romero was not returned as of the sports page deadline early Saturday.
The Cardinals play their first Las Vegas-hosted game of the season in the Stu Clark Tournament starting Thursday.