By Kevin Wilson
There was never much of a celebration for Grants to delay.
Sophomore post Morgan Hill had 25 points to lead all scorers in Portales’ 61-42 win over Grants, giving the host Lady Rams the Class 3A Region B title and a trip to this week’s state tournament.
After the presentation of the Region B trophy, the Portales players had a quick celebration, but treated the hardware with indifference only seconds later. Portales coach Brenda Gomez felt her players have their goals set on the state championship trophy instead.
“We’re very, very fortunate to have won (the regional), but still, I think they’re looking at the big picture,” Gomez said. “I think they expected to win, which is not a bad thing altogether.”
Portales (21-4), winners of 10-straight, will open their state title defense in a 2 p.m. Wednesday game against Robertson at The Pit in Albuquerque.
The Lady Rams will be there thanks in part to a 12-2 run to open the second half, which made an anticlimactic finish for what had been a 27-21 game at the half.
“I think they played pretty well,” Gomez said of Grants, which shot 56 percent (15-of-27) for the night. “They were a lot quicker than I thought and they shoot the bal really well.”
Hill scored six points during the second-half run, but she and freshman post Joni Brakebill were in position to score points with Grants (16-8) employing a game-long press.
“Anyone who finished was going to score a bunch,” Gomez said. “They hung in with it and they got some good offensive rebounds too.”
Hill and Brakebill (10 points) scored all their points inside of five feet and were often unguarded on those shots.
“That’s how we got all our points,” Brakebill said. “(Our guards) got it down fast, they got us the ball with good passes.”
Grants coach Joe Hernandez didn’t regret keeping the press on, and said that playing against the Portales offense is pretty much a pick-your-poison approach.
“I think we did a good job covering the three, but we gave up the inside,” Hernandez said. “If we guarded the inside, they’d have hit the three.”
Portales hit three 3-pointers on the night, the final a Roni Gomez trey that gave the Lady Rams their biggest lead at 59-37.
Kassandra Richards added 13 for Portales, while Erika Cook added six. Amanda Garcia scored 12 to lead Grants, the District 3-3A runnerup.
“I’m not ashamed,” Hernandez said. “I’m not disappointed in they way we played. We didn’t come in here to get blown out. The game was a lot closer than the score indicated, I thought.”