RIO RANCHO — Senior Jamie Parker scored 17 points Saturday night as La Cueva defeated Portales 44-29 in the third-place game of the Mel Otero Invite.
La Cueva built a 19-11 halftime lead and continued to keep the Lady Rams (4-3) at bay in the second half with its pressure defense.
Still, Lady Rams coach Clay Stout said his team competed well.
“We lost by 15 points, but it was a close game,” he said. “We played really well against La Cueva. We had some inside shots that didn’t fall in.”
Senior Gabby Garcia scored 12 points and junior Macy Mitchell added 10 for Portales.
Stout said La Cueva (6-2) has a couple of tall players who were tough for his team to keep off the boards.
“I was pleased with our defensive effort because La Cueva is an outstanding team,” he said. “They have so many weapons. I thought our man defense was solid most of the night, but they are a hard team to match up with.”
The Bears were able to keep the Lady Rams at bay with the help of the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
“They have nine seniors who can all play very well,” Stout said. “We had some miscues that we know about and can deal with. It was a much closer game then the final score shows.”
In the championship game, Roswell High defeated Clovis 43-31.
The Lady Rams will host Clovis in a 7 p.m. start on Thursday. They met in Friday’s semifinals, with the Lady Wildcats notching a 33-22 victory.