CLOVIS — The Portales Lady Rams managed to hang close until halftime on Tuesday against Shiprock, then made the necessary adjustments.
Junior Alexis Orcutt scored four points in a 6-0 Portales run midway through the fourth quarter, breaking open a one-point game, and PHS held on for a 50-47 victory over the Lady Chieftains in the consolation semifinals of the Plateau Holiday Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.
Portales (5-3) will face Abilene Cooper (9-7), a 63-48 winner Tuesday over Alamogordo, in today’s 10 a.m. fifth-place game.
Sophomore Macy Mitchell scored 14 points for the Lady Rams, who were nursing a 40-39 lead when freshman Jenna Sievers got behind the Shiprock defense for a layup with 4:22 left.
Another turnover led to an open-court drive for a basket by Orcutt, and she capped the run with two free throws at the 3:07 mark.
Portales had an early 9-2 lead, then saw the Lady Chieftains (7-4) storm to a 27-18 advantage with about a minute left in the half. A basket by Mitchell and Orcutt’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer made it a more manageable four-point margin at halftime.
“Against somebody like Shiprock, you’ve got to get off to a good start, and I thought we did that,” Lady Rams coach Clay Stout said, “but then we got to playing their style.
“I thought if we could just hang in there, we can make a change at halftime. I thought the girls did a good job of making the adjustments on offense and defense.”
Portales extended its run to 9-0 with the first two baskets of the third quarter, then took its first lead since the opening stanza when Gabby Garcia drove the baseline for a layup with just under a minute left and added two free throws with six seconds to go in the period.
Senior guard Mishauna Todacheenie scored 17 points for Shiprock, ranked third in Class 4A, but coach Brady Rivers said his team lacked energy after a tough 49-47 loss to host Clovis in Thursday night’s quarterfinals.
“I don’t know if last night’s game took a lost out of us or what,” he said. “But our girls play a lot in the summer, so I don’t think (fatigue) is much of an excuse.
“You’ve got to give all the credit to Portales. They made the defensive adjustments in the second half, and we couldn’t buy a basket.”
Shiprock will face Alamogordo in the seventh-place game at noon today.