The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales returns to 4A title game with win over Shiprock


March 9, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE — Sometimes, coaches don't really need to make halftime adjustments, even in close state tournament games. That happened to be the case in Thursday's girls basketball 4A semifinal between Portales and Shiprock.

The No. 1 Rams held a slim lead at half, but exploded in the third quarter to take the 65-54 win, advancing them to today's title game against Moriarty.

"We scored the last five points of the first half, so that gave us a lot of momentum going into halftime," Rams coach Wade Fraze explained. "We came out and had a mentally and physically tougher third quarter. We didn't change a lot, we just came out more focused and determined."

No. 1 Portales (27-2) led by six, 30-24, at half. However, the Rams would not allow No. 4 Shiprock (20-10) to hang around for much longer, as Portales outscored them, 23-4, in that decisive third period.

Portales grabbed45 rebounds this time, following a 70-rebound performance in the quarterfinal against West Las Vegas on Tuesday. The Rams made 38 percent of their 3s, and had 13 steals. Taylee Rippee recorded yet another double-double, leading the way with 14 points and 10 boards.

The Rams will now play district rival Moriarty (27-4), the three-seed, for a fourth time this season, when they square off in today's 4A final at The Pit, with tip-off expected at 3:30 p.m. In three meetings thus far, Portales has won all of them by at least 15 points each, as the Pintos have just one other loss all year long.

However, Fraze and company certainly won't take Moriarty lightly.

"It's really hard to beat a team over and over," Fraze said. "They've got good guards and post play. (My girls) are excited that we won today, and you go into the season hoping that you can make it to state and have a shot. (Now) they have that shot."


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