By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
ALBUQUERQUE — Experience will be on the side on Pojoaque in today’s Class 3A boys semifinal against Portales.
The Elks are making their fourth trip to the state semifinals in five years while Portales is making its first state appearance since winning it all in 2001.
Pojoaque (20-7) knocked out Lovington 60-55 in Wednesday’s first-round matchup at La Cueva High School.
Portales (18-8), which has won 10 of its last 11 games, is coming off a 67-46 win over Cuba on Wednesday in which the second-seeded Rams jumped on top early and stayed there.
“It would have been harder if it had been a closer game,” said PHS junior guard Daniel Aranda, referring to Cuba’s boisterous fan support. “But we kept control of the game.”
The Rams watched Pojoaque’s game against Lovington in which Josh Harris, a lanky 6-foot-2 senior forward, scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the final two quarters. The Elks abandoned their struggling 3-point shooting approach after halftime and began to pound the ball inside.
“They impressed me,” said Aranda, who led five Rams in double figures against Cuba with 15 points. “Their big guy (Harris) played pretty good, and they’ve got a couple of guards who can stroke it.”