Lady Broncos coast into 4A semifinals

Matt Hollinshead,
Kirtland Central's Tatelyn Manheimer looks to attack the basket against Portales's Mattison Blakey during Tuesday's 4A state quarterfinals game at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE – The Kirtland Central Lady Broncos stampeded their way to the next round, blasting Portales 71-39 in tonight’s 4A quarterfinals at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

“We’ve done it in so many games. They know how to handle pressure. I believe in them, I trust them,” said shooting guard Tatelyn Manheimer.

Kirtland pulled ahead for good in the third quarter with big stops coming off the baseline and going on the attack from there.

KC then did significant damage, hurling quick outlet passes for easy scoring chances.

“It was great. You can see (teammates), and I know they can score. If you just pass it down, they can do their job,” said point guard Monique Shim.

Kirtland was also relentless going for offensive boards and second-chance scoring tries.

And, to boot, Kirtland implemented a fair number of double-team traps on the far-side baselines.

KC outscored Portales 23-9 in the third quarter.

“We just got on a little run, and we kept it rolling basically through the second half,” coach Devon Manning said. “We just preach on moving the ball. Sooner or later, we’re going to get our shooters on the outside, and these girls can drive just as well.”

KC (26-3) kept on punching — and counter-punching - Portales (16-12), coasting into the 4A semifinals.

Shim and Manheimer combined for 30 points for Kirtland.

Kirtland, which has won 23 of its last 24 games, will face Española Valley at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.