Cleveland junior guard Kindyll Sandoval, left, dribbles as she looks for a teammate to pass to Thursday evening in the Thunderdome. (Herron photo)


Heading into its game at Rio Rancho High School Wednesday evening (Feb. 1), the Cleveland High School girls’ basketball team looked primed to finish in second place in District 1-5A and obtain a home game when the 16-team Class 5A postseason begins next month.

In their 65-25 rout of visiting Cibola the evening on Jan. 26, several Storm stats stood out:

  • The Storm reserves scored more points ((29) than the entire Cougars squad.
  • CHS players shot 100 percent from the foul line (9 of 9).
  • The Storm shot better than 50 percent (6 of 11) from behind the arc.
  • A dozen players got into the game, and 11 of them scored.

Of course, securing a district victory is always important, and the Storm (13-8, 2-1) left no doubt about who would win this game early, opening it on a 14-2 run and leading by double digits the rest of the way.

Obviously, this wasn’t the same Cibola team that beat the Storm 43-42 last month in the APS Metro tournament.

Storm coach Susan Kubala said that loss came after a last-second shot, and “they played very well, (and) I made some errors pressing them with a different type of press and we didn’t match up well out of it. We let them get 3-point shots in the corner and they hit them all.”

In their latest meeting, the Cougars (3-17, 0-4) missed their first four shots from long range, then finished with two treys out of 14 attempts.

Kindyll Sandoval and Savannah Madueno scored 10 points apiece to share scoring honors for the Storm.

“We ended (the game) on the floor with four freshmen,” Kubala added. “We’ve been trying to clean things up. I’m glad we shot 100 percent (at the line), because we shot like 40 percent from the line in our last game.

“They were down a couple people, but we put some things together that we have been missing,” she said. “We had a better concerted effort to start the game. I’m happy to play a lot of people.”

Cleveland 44, Atrisco Heritage Academy 41: The Storm won the first half, with a dozen points in each quarter in building a 24-17 lead at halftime in this Jan. 24 contest at AHA.

AHA (8-10, 0-2) won the second half, out-scoring Cleveland 13-11 and 11-9 in the final two quarters, just falling short, in the Jan. 24 meeting in the South Valley.

Madueno led Cleveland with 13 points, whole Malia Mose had 11.

Rio Rancho 44, Cibola 29: Down the hill the evening of Jan. 24, the Rams pulled away from a tie at 18, using back-to-back field goals by Jemmah Estrada to start a 26-11 run to end their district game with the Cougars.

Estrada, a 6-foot eighth grader, led the Rams with 12 points.

Volcano Vista 49, Rio Rancho 41: Two nights later, this time in Volcano Vista’s Ring of Fire, the Hawks were given a scare by the Rams (10-10, 2-1) in the second half.

“(We) played our best game of the season,” coach Lori Mabrey said, looking forward to the Rams’ meeting with the Storm this week. “We were down 13 at half, lost by eight.”

It wasn’t as bad as the four scores from last season, with VVHS winning (in order) 62-31, 63-22, 65-6 and 64-21, the latter ending the Rams’ season and coach Scott Peterson’s stint after 99 wins with the Rams.

Thursday’s loss to the Hawks was the Rams’ ninth in a row. The Rams’ last win over the Hawks was on Feb. 20, 2019, a 33-32 verdict at VVHS.

Dribbles: Halle Peterson, the daughter of former Rams coach Scott Peterson, seems to be enjoying her senior season, which she’s playing at Durango High School. Again wearing No. 22, through the Demonettes’ first 14 games she was averaging 10.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. DHS won 13 of its first 14 games, opening the season with a loss to Farmington.