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ALBUQUERQUE — Kirtland Central will play in back-to-back 4A state basketball championship games after besting Portales, 58-48, in Thursday's semifinals at Dreamstyle Arena.

Playing in front of an empty arena, due to the New Mexico Activities Association's response to the Coronavirus threat, the No. 2 Lady Broncos (23-6) jumped out to an early lead against third-seeded Portales (22-8) and never let up.

Kirtland Central led 23-20 entering halftime before outscoring the Lady Rams 19-9 in the third quarter.

Tatelyn Manheimer led her team with 18 points, Aisha Ramone and Melanie Yazzie combined for 22 points.

Kirtland Central also got good production from its bench, totaling 18 points. KC also scored 32 points in the paint and 10 fast-break points.

Kirtland is scheduled to play No. 1 Los Lunas (26-4) in a rematch of last year's tournament championship at 7 p.m. Friday, only with the rankings switched.

The NMAA will have an emergency board of directors meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday to discuss whether the rest of the tournament will continue, or if additional changes will be made before the Lady Broncos and Lady Tigers tip off. 

Matthew Asher covers sports for the Carlsbad Current-Argus. He can be reached at 575-628-5524, masher@currentargus.com or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.

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