Portales bounces Bloomfield from state playoffs

Walther scores 15 but the eighth-seeded Lady Bobcats fall 61-32 to No. 1 Portales

Jake Newby
Bloomfield's Destiny Walther sizes up a shot against Portales' Lindsay Blakey during their 4A quarterfinal game on March 8 at The Pit in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE – The eighth-seeded Bloomfield girls basketball team found out why Portales landed the No. 1 seed in this year's 4A state tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

Bloomfield (19-11) hung around with Portales for a little more than a quarter, but was blown out of the building after that, losing 61-32 in their quarterfinal matchup at The Pit in Albuquerque.

The Lady Bobcats stayed in it early by swiping the ball four times from the normally careful Lady Rams (24-3). But Bloomfield had a hard time finishing at the rim when it got there.

"We had some opportunities. We had one set where we had four offensive rebounds and just didn't capitalize," Bloomfield coach Tom Adair said. "We had the opportunity to keep it close, and they just got away from us."

The Lady Bobcats went zero for 11 from the field in the second quarter and were outscored 18-5.

Bloomfield is at its best when it can get up and down the court and score in transition, but Portales' height and deliberate game pace didn't allow the Lady Bobcats to run at all on Tuesday.

The Lady Rams also held Bloomfield down by excelling from the free-throw line. Portales shot 23 of 30 from the charity stripe.

"They're probably going to compete for the state title," Adair said of Portales. "We're a young team. Hopefully, we'll be able to build a team like Portales that knows how to hit their free throws and put teams away."

Standout Portales senior Kambrey Blakey accounted for exactly half of the Lady Rams' free-throw attempts. She had a rough day from the field, shooting only three of 11, but her saving grace was her 13-for-15 mark from the line. She scored a game-high 19 points.

After the Lady Bobcats eliminated Robertson in the first round on Saturday, Adair said he thought his team had a shot at beating Portales if it could contain Blakey. Bloomfield succeeded at containing Blakey, but Portales stepped up in other ways.

Lady Rams senior guard Sheraya Cox did her part by hitting three 3-pointers and netting 16 points.

"They're a complete team. The Cox girl, we knew she was a good player also," Adair said. "Kambrey's definitely an awesome ball player, but she's got some good teammates who step up quite a bit, too."

Bloomfield's Kimberlyn Morgan shoots over Portales' Kelly Fraze in the fourth quarter of their 4A quarterfinal game on Tuesday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

Bloomfield's Destiny Walther made some noise in the final game of her junior season, one in which she averaged a team-high 14 points per game. Walther scored 15 points and added four rebounds.

She said Blakey was a handful to guard down low.

"I was trying to block her shot and not foul at the same time," Walther said, of defending Blakey. "Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn't."

Portales put the game on ice in the third by notching 24 points, its most in any quarter.

Bloomfield hadn't been to the state quarterfinals since 2004 prior to Tuesday's loss. Adair said the atmosphere was great for his team to experience.

"We played the No. 1 team in the state, and we competed," Adair said. "I was proud that we never gave up. Every girl on the team got to play today and get a taste of what The Pit is like."

Only three Bloomfield players will graduate in the spring. Adair expects to have 11 players from this year's roster back for the 2016-2017 season.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.