Class 3A girls finals
No. 2 Portales vs. No. 1 Pojoaque
When: 6 p.m. today at The Pit, Albuquerque.
Records: Portales 20-10, Pojoaque 30-0.
How they got here: Portales has beaten seventh-seeded West Las Vegas 52-30 and No. 11 Las Vegas Robertson 56-48 in the first two rounds in Albuquerque. Pojoaque knocked off No. 8 Socorro 49-30 and No. 4 St. Michael’s 44-23.
At stake: Portales, which has played in eight 3A championship games since 2001, is seeking its fifth title in that time while the Elkettes are going for back-to-back crowns.
Pojoaque players to watch: Ellen Cruz, 5-9 Sr., G; Jacqueline Bartleson, 6-2 Sr., C; Janelle Roybal, 5-9 Sr., F.
Notes: The Lady Rams were knocked out in last year’s quarterfinals, ending their run of seven title games in a row … Cruz (Penasco) and Barletson (Santa Fe High) are recent move-ins, and Portales coach Clay Stout said they’ve helped solidify the Elkettes. … Stout said his team faced Pojoaque twice during a summer camp at Eastern New Mexico University over the summer, losing by “close to 10” the first time and by three the second time. The Lady Rams were without starters Tara Johnson and Jenna Wagner for that camp. … The only games closer than 11 points for Pojoaque this season were a pair of 3-point decisions over West Las Vegas, the team the Lady Rams handled fairly easily in the opening round. “They’re a good team,” Stout said. “I’m not taking anything away from them, but they haven’t played a real tough schedule.” … Stout said the Lady Rams, who have played faster than normal in the first two games in Albuquerque, will try to go with a slower tempo against the Elkettes.
Quotable: “I feel like our girls are playing their best basketball, and they’re really excited about playing this game.” — Stout.
Class 3A boys semifinals
No. 3 Portales vs. No. 2 St. Michael’s
When: 1:15 p.m. today at The Pit, Albuquerque.
Records: Portales 21-8, St. Michael’s 23-7.
How they got here: Portales routed No. 6 Socorro 85-59 while St. Mike’s got past seventh-seeded Pojoaque 56-54 in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
At stake: A berth in Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. championship game at The Pit. The winner gets either top-seeded Hope Christian or No. 4 Sandia Prep.
St. Michael’s players to watch: Jordan Romero, 6-1 Sr. PG; Michael Yardman-Frank, 5-9 Sr. G.
Notes: Rams coach Mark Gallegos was an assistant for St. Mike’s coach Ron Geyer for four seasons (1994-98) at Alamogordo, reaching three large-school finals in that time and winning one. … The teams haven’t met since 2004 regional competition, when the Horsemen prevailed in overtime. … Romero, who leads the Horsemen in scoring, has been a starter since eighth grade. … Gallegos said St. Mike’s, which is on a 14-game winning streak after losing five of eight in midseason, can go 10 deep. … The Horsemen were second in the Southwest Dairy Classic at Clovis in late December, lsoing to Class 5A Valley 50-40 in the finals. … Gallegos, whose teams traditionally play a deliberate style, has opted for a faster pace this year and will try to get St. Mike’s into an uptempo game. “We’ve adjusted our style because we’re very athletic,” he said.
Quotable: “We’re playing real well. Our kids have improved all year, and we’re playing together as a team.” — Gallegos.
— Compiled by Dave Wagner
Class 3A girls finals
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