ALBUQUERQUE — Santa Fe Indian dominated the second quarter Friday and, with a strong finishing kick, it was enough.
The Braves outscored Portales 19-9 in the second period, turning a three-point deficit into a seven-point halftime lead. SFIS took control for good over the final four minutes for a 62-55 win in the championship semifinals of the Hope Christian Invitational.
The Rams (6-8) trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, but rallied to tie the score 45-45 midway through the final period before the Braves (10-5) pulled away for good.
Portales takes on the loser of the Mora-Hope Christian semifinal in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. today.
Portales led 14-11 after the opening period.
“We had a rough second quarter; we had a slow start,” Rams coach Mark Gallegos said. “Then in the third quarter, we came out in a little bit of a lull.”
The Rams played without junior guard Andrew Villanueva, who turned his ankle during a shootaround earlier Friday. Without him, Gallegos said the Rams’ depth was affected.
“We got really tired,” Gallegos said. “They pressured us 94 feet, and it took a lot out of us.”
Junior post Jesse Blue led all scorers with 16 points for the Rams, with senior guard Shawn Carrasco adding 14 points and junior guard Stephen Shields tossing in 12.
Senior Trevor Merhege scored 13 points for the Braves, while senior Jody Atencio added 12 and junior Matthew Montoya scored 10.
Gallegos was pleased with the Rams’ effort and intensity.
“This team just keeps battling,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”