Rams roll into 4-4A title game with win over Warriors
Last updated 2/24/2017 at 7:21am
PORTALES — Despite a fierce road performance from Ruidoso, the Portales High boys basketball team managed to outlast its opponent, winning 63-56 Thursday night in the District 4-4A tournament semifinals.
Braden Bridges led the effort for the Rams (21-4) with 15 points, while Junior Ramirez added 13. Ethan self scored 12 points, all off 3-pointers, and Jeremie Karngbaye rounded out the top scorers with 10.
The Warriors (15-14), led by Loren Mendez with 17 and Randal Poorthunder with 16, actually held a seven-point lead over the Rams midway through the second quarter. But a resilient Portales team would not only manage to tie the game, but would take a 10-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
"We gave ourselves a chance and that's basically what I told the kids — 'you have to play like there is no tomorrow," said Warriors coach Billy Page. "And they did that, they worked hard and I think we are peaking at the right time, but Portales is just tough."
Rams coach Rickie McBroom echoed Page, saying that everyone, including Ruidoso, is playing their best basketball right now.
"You are trying to qualify for the state tournament and seeding," McBroom said. "Everyone is going to give you their best game and this was no different than any other game like that."
Portales would go up by as much 14 in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors wouldn't go quietly — forcing several Rams' miscues on the offensive end that led to easy transition baskets for Ruidoso. However, the last three minutes Portales buckled down, keeping the ball and the game out of reach of the Warriors.
"I wish we would have made a couple of different decisions here and there, but hey, we are learning and we are excited, ready to move on," said McBroom.
Moving on means a trip to Albuquerque on Saturday, where Portales will take on Hope Christian. McBroom wasn't concerned that this performance against Ruidoso had any bearing on the team's trip north.
McBroom "At this time of the year there aren't going to be a whole lot of blowouts. Ruidoso always plays us tough, we were just fortunate the first couple of times and I thought we played pretty well — if we didn't play as well as we did, we wouldn't have won the ball game."
Tipoff for Saturday's district championship is scheduled for 5 p.m.