A quick turnaround from Tuesday and a slow start on Wednesday could not deter the Portales Lady Rams from their appointed mission.
Coming off a hard-fought, three-point win over Shiprock in a late-afternoon consolation semifinal the day before, the Lady Rams woke up in plenty of time to beat Abilene Cooper 34-27 Wednesday morning for fifth place in the Plateau Holiday Classic at Rock Staubus Gym.
PHS coach Clay Stout said Tuesday’s game drained some energy from his team.
“We were really flat (at the start of Wednesday’s game),” Stout said. “The Shiprock game took a lot out of us.
“I thought in the second half, the girls really turned it up. I felt like we were a little out of sync the first half.”
Portales (6-3) throttled Cooper after falling behind 15-2 late in the first quarter. Still down by nine at halftime, the Lady Rams blanked Cooper (9-8) in the third period and held the Lady Coogs to just four points for the entire second half.
“Once we got the momentum, they couldn’t get it back,” Stout said. “It was a tale of two halves.”
Sophomore post Macy Mitchell provided most of the offense with 19 points — all in the first three quarters. Junior forward Gabby Garcia then took over with all eight PHS points in the final period after she scored just one point in the first three frames.
Junior guard Kelsey Barnes led Abilene Cooper with seven points. Senior guard Haley Smith and senior post Deprise Cravin, who combined for 48 points in a 63-48 consolation semifinal win over Alamogordo on Tuesday, were held to a combined nine points by Portales.
The Lady Rams are now idle until Jan. 8-9 when they return to Clovis for the New Mexico/Arizona Challenge. Portales faces Pinnacle on the first day and Monument Valley on the second, both in 3 p.m. starts.