Hope holds off Rams for 4A title
Last updated 3/12/2017 at 6:36am
ALBUQUERQUE — What started out as a close-fought contest eventually spiraled into disappointment for Portales, as an off-shooting day helped top-seeded Hope Christian run away with the Class 4A championship Saturday.
The Huskies, champions of District 4-4A over the Rams, did it over Portales again at The Pit to claim a 58-46 victory.
Jeremie Karngbaye was doing all he could for the Rams with a game-high 30 points on 7-of-9 shooting. But only four other players for Portales (25-5) scored and shot a combined 5-for-40 without him.
When asked about the poor shooting day, Portales coach Rickie McBroom had little answers beyond an off day.
"If I knew that," McBroom said. "I would write a book.
"It's just one of those days, I have confidence in our kids. It wasn't lack of effort, a lack of trying. It just didn't bounce our way and the ball just didn't go in."
The Huskies (26-5) had no such trouble, going just 36 percent on the day but 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. Marcus Medina scored 17 to lead three in double figures for the Huskies, with Chris Ward added 14 and Preston Ulibarri 10.
Portales was still within single digits near the close of the second quarter, but disaster struck on defense. Darion Ontiveros was whistled for his third foul, then picked up a fourth on a technical as officials ruled he tried to trip Medina after the whistle. Ontiveros, whose defense on Medina was key, wouldn't see the cout again.
The third quarter was where the Rams' dreams of a championship really started to slip away, scoring only three points to Hope's 11 and falling behind by double-digits. Karngbaye was limited to only one score, off a free throw, in the third and the team wouldn't make a field goal until around 6:15 left in the fourth.
Hope coach Jim Murphy, who took home his 15th state championship with the win, said, "Portales is tough. ... The three previous games we tried to front (Karngbaye) a lot, so today we wanted to play behind him, get position a little more. ... Maybe he got tired, but the good thing is they didn't hit the outside shot."
McBroom also acknowledged the Rams would have had a better chance at the upset without the 3-for-25 shooting from long range.
"We've been a team that has been able to take what the defense gave us," McBroom said. "We knew against Hope it was important to get the ball in the paint so then it would open up the outside. That's why we're here — we have a very balanced inside game and outside game."