Denver City pulls away from Rams late

LITTLEFIELD — Portales' fourth-quarter magic in the Wildcat Classic ran out Friday against Denver City.

With the help of a 13-for-16 effort at the free-throw line, the Mustangs pulled away in the final quarter for a 65-58 win over the Rams in the championship semifinals.

Portales (4-4) dominated the fourth quarter in pair of wins in Thursday's opening day of the 12-team tournament.

"Our kids played hard and battled to the end," Portales coach Rickie McBroom said. "I really like the way the kids are playing."

Senior guard Zack Blaeser led Portales with 12 points and Reyes Calbert added 10.

Keyshawn Hawkins scored a game-high 23 points for Denver City (12-0), with Mason Milligan adding 17.

Portales picked up the defensive pressure in the third quarter. The Rams turned a 29-25 halftime deficit into as much as five-point lead, but they couldn't hold off the Mustangs, who outscored Portales 28-16 over the final eight minutes.

"They got up by four or five points and they got some easy baskets," McBroom said. "We had to gamble a bit down the stretch. But we're not going to just sit back and play it safe. You have to take some chances."

McBroom said the Rams did a good job against Denver City's best player, Clancy David, a 6-5 senior guard, limiting him to 13 points. However, David did grab a couple of key rebounds down the stretch, McBroom said.

Portales finished with six 3-pointers, including two each by Emilio Baca and Nathan Chavez.

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