Portales is headed to the Class 3A girls' state basketball championship game after eliminating its second opponent from Las Vegas in as many days.
The Lady Rams got past Robertson 56-48 in a Thursday morning semifinal at The Pit in Albuquerque. They'll play the winner of a Pojoaque-St. Michael's semifinal in the championship game, set to tip off at 6 p.m. Friday.
Robertson, who upset higher seeds Crownpoint and Lovington to reach the 3A girls' Final Four, led for most of the first half, getting a balanced effort. But a scoring drought set in midway through the second period, and a 19-2 run by Portales turned a 21-16 RHS lead into a 35-23 Ram advantage.
Brooke Knezevich scored seven of her team-high 15 points in the final period as the Lady Cards tried to mount a comeback -- and did, to some degree. Portales opened its largest lead at 46-28 with 6:38 left in the game, and the Lady Cards erased a dozen points off that margin. Daniella Montoya hit a basket and Karlee Bradley a three-pointer, both in the final half-minute, but time ran out on the rally.
Robertson loses only three seniors -- sharpshooter Kim Mares, defensive specialist Ashley Lucero and reserve Felisha Dimas.
Portales also bumped West Las Vegas from the bracket, winning a Tuesday morning quarterfinal to spoil what would have been an all-Vegas semifinal -- and all-District 2-3A Final Four.
For more on the state tournament, including exclusive photos, see the print version of the Optic Friday and next week.