If Rio Rancho High School junior Julia Espinosa had any lingering effects from a concussion that kept her out of some recent basketball games, they weren’t evident Wednesday evening.

With her teammates constantly feeding her the ball, she had a career-high 17 points – 14 of them in the middle two quarters – to lead the host Rams to a 47-33 victory over visiting Cibola in the District 1-5A second-rounder in the RAC.

The victorious Rams (13-13) visit Cleveland Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the district semifinal; that game’s winner heads to the Ring of Fire Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. contest with the defending 5A champion Volcano Vista hawks.

The Storm (16-10) are 2-1 vs. the Rams this season, but RRHS won the last meeting, 31-28, in the RAC on Feb. 17.

Against the Cougars, Rio Rancho used an impressive 16-2 run, which began late in the first quarter, to take the lead and never looked back. Espinosa scored 8 of her game-high 17 points in that spurt.

Leading 23-17 at intermission, the Rams opened the second half on an 8-1 run and upped their lead to 15 points (37-22) heading into the fourth quarter.

The Cougars (6-20) could get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.

Espinosa was the only Ram in double figures. Tina Potin led the Cougars with 15 points.


At times Wednesday evening in the RAC, it looked too easy for the Rams: Feed Julia Espinosa (35) the ball and watch her drop in a 3- to 4-foot shot. (Herron photo)