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.