The wheels weren’t coming off after all, it seemed Tuesday evening.
The Stormmobile only needed alignment, which it got as Cleveland High went on a 19-4 run over the game’s final 6:01 to beat the host Rams 54-46 in front of a crowd of 1,250 fans.
Until that fateful run, the Rams seemed to be on their way to securing third place in the district at its midpoint.
The Rams had the early energy, never trailing through the first three quarters and leading 12-6 at the end of the first period, 28-16 at halftime and then 39-32 heading into the decisive fourth quarter.
“It’s a rivalry, so I knew they were going to bring their energy,” Jimenez said of the Rams (12-8, 1-3). “I wanted us to still bring it, play a smart game like we were when we were 10-3.”
The Rams still had a seven-point lead after Keagan Caton hit a pair of free throws to make it 42-35 with 6:09 to play.
Rio Rancho could only muster a layup by Jeremiah Morris and a Jayden Johnson free throw the rest of the way, as Storm points-leader Antonio Avila, who finished with 14 points, began the comeback with two free throws at the 6:01 mark.
Dribbles: In the evening’s opener, the CHS freshmen won the first quarter 28-1 and never looked back in their 70-52 victory. Zack Moore led the young Storm with 13 points; Tahi Gonzales, Jon Baca and Jarren Villa had 11 apiece.
… In the junior varsity contest – basically the Williams family “feud,” the Rams, coached by former Ram three-sports standout Christopher Williams, beat the Storm (coached by his father, Wallace, and younger brother Marcus) 64-52. Josiah Marfil led RRHS with 11 points; Damien Molina had 13 and Isaiah Sandoval added 11 for the Storm.
Read more about this thriller in the RAC in the Feb. 6 edition of the Observer!!