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Paityn Houghtaling is harassed under the basket by Portales sisters Kambrey and Lindsay Blakey during the first quarter Tuesday at Bulldog Pit. (Brienne Green - Daily Press)

Paityn Houghtaling is harassed under the basket by Portales sisters Kambrey and Lindsay Blakey during the first quarter Tuesday at Bulldog Pit. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

Shooting has been the Lady Bulldogs’ Achilles heel over the course of their past few games, and unfortunately, the trend continued Tuesday against Portales at Bulldog Pit.

Hampered by 16 first-half turnovers, the girls in orange managed just a trio of buckets in the first quarter and two in the second to trail 26-12 at the break. Their hard luck would continue in the third, where the Lady ‘Dogs posted just a single field goal.

To their credit, however, the Artesia girls rallied in the fourth, cutting a 23-point deficit down to 13 with three minutes still to go in the game.

But the Lady ‘Dogs were also hindered by a rather lopsided evening of officiating that sent the Ramettes to the line 30 times on the game compared to Artesia’s seven free-throw attempts. That found the Lady Bulldogs backing off somewhat in the second half – while continuing to be hammered under their own basket – and Portales was able to rebuild its lead in the final moments en route to a 52-27 win.

Both teams got off to a slow start Tuesday, with Portales taking the game’s first shot over two-and-a-half minutes into the inaugural quarter. The Ramettes also accounted for the first basket – an and-one awarded Kambrey Blakey with 4:20 left in the period.

On baskets by Shyann Spence and Paityn Houghtaling, the Lady ‘Dogs trailed by just a pair, 6-4, with two minutes remaining, but Portales would cap off the quarter on a 10-3 run that sandwiched an Alissa Wagner trey and sent them into the second with a 16-7 advantage.

Gracie Puentes answered a Lindsay Blakey and-one with a jumper to start the second, but while the Ramettes managed just five more points through the two-minute mark, the Lady ‘Dogs went 0-7 from the field.

A drive to the hoop by Houghtaling and the front end of a one-and-one by Gracie Tesillo could only pull Artesia into double-digits by the break, 26-12.

A Wagner offensive putback with just under five minutes to go in the third comprised Artesia’s scoring in that quarter, and Portales led 37-14 heading into the fourth.

Two buckets apiece by Houghtaling and Tesillo, and a Puentes putback helped make it 38-25 with 3:04 to play. But the Ramettes outscored the Lady ‘Dogs 14-2 from there to slam the door.

Kambrey Blakey led all scorers on the night with 22 points, followed by Lindsay Blakey with nine. Houghtaling had eight for the Lady ‘Dogs, Tesillo six, and Wagner five.

The Lady Bulldogs will head west this weekend to take on Class 6A opponents Gadsden and Deming at 7 p.m. Friday and 3:30 p.m. Saturday respectively before returning to Bulldog Pit Jan. 12 to join the Bulldogs in hosting Carlsbad.