LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Colby Nakahi scored 16, and the Shiprock Cheiftains bounced back from an early deficit to hand the Portales Rams a 57-52 defeat in Tuesday’s semifinals of the Stu Clark Invitational.
Nick Begay added 11 for the Chieftains, who face Robertson in today’s title game.
“We really wanted to play in the championship game,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said. “Nobody gave us a chance to do it, and we gave a game away.”
Shiprock trailed 20-14 after one period and by double figures early against an upstart Ram squad.
“We got really impatient,” Gallegos said. “We took some quick shots, and we couldn’t get a defensive stop. They exploited our man defense.”
Portales (3-4) cut the deficit to three late in the fourth, but Gallegos said a missed blockout on a free throw gave the Chieftains one more possession to put the game on ice.
Shawn Carrasco scored a game-high 24 to lead Portales, while Andrew Villanueva added eight and Jesse Blue seven for the Rams (3-4).
Portales faces St. Pius in a 6 p.m third-place matchup.
“”They’re a really good, patient basketball team,” Gallegos said. “They give you lots of looks. They’re really fundamental. It will be a tall task for us.”