PHS girls down La Cueva for third place in tourney

By Dave Wagner

CLOVIS — After getting thrashed by Rio Rancho on Tuesday in the semifinals of Clovis’ Plateau Holiday Classic, the Portales Lady Rams quickly put that game in their rear-view mirror.
Leading for all but about three minutes over the final three quarters, Portales used a solid team effort to dispatch La Cueva 56-50 in Wednesday’s third-place game.
Freshman forward Bethany Self tallied a team-high 10 points, but all nine Lady Rams who saw action contributed to the scoring column, including eight with at least five points.
PHS (6-6) survived 22 turnovers, getting 24 points from its bench.
“I thought we played more to our potential,” said the 5-foot-11 Self, who shot 4-of-7 from the field and also contributed three rebounds and an assist. “We were moving the ball good, and everyone contributed.”
She added that the competition against larger schools in the tournament should benefit the team in the long run.
“It gives us a lot more experience together,” she said. “A bunch of us hadn’t played together before this year.”
PHS twice built 10-point leads in the fourth quarter before fending off a late Bears rally keyed by three consecutive 3-pointers from senior guard Sarah Anderson in the final two minutes.
“We’re still in a learning process, but it was better today,” PHS girls coach Brenda Gomez said. “We took a step forward.”
Three PHS players drew fouls on La Cueva’s first three possessions, but the Lady Rams generally handled the Bears’ overall size. Junior post Morgan Hill was limited to six points, but had a team-high three assists and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Portales post a 31-26 edge in that category.
Six-foot senior Briana Paxton led La Cueva (4-5) with 14 points, but got only two after halftime. Anderson’s late blitz also put her in double figures with 12.
“That’s a good little team,” La Cueva coach Greg Berger said of the Lady Rams. “They executed today and we didn’t.
“They went into that (1-3-1) zone (defense) and messed us up. Rio Rancho’s press affected them yesterday, but our press wasn’t as tenacious.”
La Cueva led 9-4 with less than two minutes left in the opening period, but a 3-pointer by Briana Hernandez and four points from sophomore Amanda Terry — added to the varsity before the tournament — put the Lady Rams in front.
La Cueva stayed close, then took a 32-29 lead midway through the third period. But Portales scored the next eight points, getting baskets from four different players, and made enough free throws down the stretch to keep the Bears in check.
“I thought we just had to play better defense and take care of the ball,” Self said. “We just had to keep up our intensity.”
Hill represented the Lady Rams on the all-tournament team.
“Everybody did their job today,” Gomez said. “Most of the time (we) communicated on defense, and on offense we were able to handle their pressure a little bit.”

Portales 56, La Cueva 50
Portales (6-6) —
Tara Johnson 2-6 1-5 5, Rebekah Gonzales 0-1 2-4 2, Briana Hernandez 2-3 1-2 6, Megan Kabrick 1-6 3-4 5, Patty Terry 1-3 4-4 6, Bethany Self 4-7 2-2 10, Amanda Terry 2-2 3-4 7, Morgan Hill 2-7 2-2 6, Ashleah Richards 4-6 0-0 9. Totals 18-41 18-27 56.
La Cueva (4-5) — Kim Lopez 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Baldwin 1 7-8 9, Marisol Romero 0 0-0 0, Sarah Anderson 4 1-2 12, Sandy Cook 1 1-1 3, Kaitlin Rice 1 0-0 2, Kellie Snyder 1 1-2 3, Vanessa Strobbe 2 3-4 7, Briana Paxton 6 2-2 14. Totals 16-47 15-19 50.
Portales 11 16 12 17 — 56
La Cueva 9 14 13 14 — 50
3-pointers —
Portales 2-7 (Hernandez 1-1, Richards 1-2, Johnson 0-2, Kabrick 0-2), La Cueva 3-13 (Anderson 3). Rebounds — Portales 31 (Hill 11), La Cueva 26. Assists — Portales 9 (Hill 3), La Cueva n/a. Total fouls — Portales 18, La Cueva 24. Fouled out — Baldwin, Rice.

Plateau Holiday Classic
At Clovis
Tuesday’s semifinals
Consolation bracket
Abilene (Texas) Cooper 46, Gadsden 39
Farmington 56, Carlsbad 49
Championship bracket
Rio Rancho 51, Portales 25
Clovis 68, La Cueva 30
Wednesday’s finals
Carlsbad 43, Gadsden 20 (7th)
Farmington 57, Cooper 41 (5th)
Portales 56, La Cueva 50 (3rd)
Clovis 53, Rio Rancho 35 (championship)