The scoreboard in the Thunderdome tells the story, and most of the estimated 1,500 fans enjoyed the rivalry game. Herron photo)



Host Cleveland ended the first half of its District 1-5A basketball schedule with an 85-74 victory over Rio Rancho Tuesday evening.

The Storm boys used a 13-1 run late in the second quarter to pull away from a tie at 6, and kept the lead.

“Whenever you play Rio Rancho, our rival, you don’t take any deep breaths and relax at all, because you can see how quickly they can put points on the board,” CHS coach Sean Jimenez said. “We’ve got to make sure we finish the game all the way to 0:00:00 … and not let up at all, whether it’s a one-point, a 15-point game, whatever it is, because they’ve got some offensive weapons.”

The Storm led by 10, 19-9, when the first period ended, and the teams stayed that far apart after each posted 14 in the second quarter and 22 in the third; even the fourth quarter was close, with the Storm edging the Rams 30-29.

The Rams (14-7, 2-2) had scored the first six points of the second half to get within four (33-29), but midway through the third quarter Cleveland was ahead by double digits, leading by as many as 17 points before settling for an 11-point victory.

It was too much Daniel Steverson for the Rams, now 15-28 all-time vs. their city foes.

The junior finished with a game-high 31 points, with 16 of those coming in the fourth quarter. He was driving, he was sinking free throws — 14 of 19 for the game – and even sank a 3-pointer. They put him at the line three times in the second quarter, and that gave the Storm six points.

Freshman Remy Albrecht was in his usual form,  with three 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, and Nic Trujillo was also in double figures with 10, including a dunk over the Rams;’ Jayden Johnson that brought the CHS student section to its feet in the second half.

With a crowd estimated at 1,500, both student sections were loud throughout the contest, and probably will be so again the evening of Feb. 16, when the Storm visit the RAC. Even the CHS pep band showed up for the sure-to-be exciting rivalry game.

The Rams were led by Johnson, who had 18 points; Maddox Presser dominated inside and was near-perfect at the foul line (8 of 9) on his way to 16 points. Josiah Marfil came off the bench to supply 11 points, matching starting guard Mikey Wood; Jerry Archuleta’s 10 points all came in the second half.

The Rams committed 19 turnovers; the Storm turned the ball over 11 times.

“We scored more than 33 tonight,” quipped RRHS coach Wally Salata, referring to the paltry output his team amassed in its loss to Volcano Vista on Jan. 27.

“Our defense tonight was a no-show. You can’t let Remy and Steverson (score so many points). We knew that coming in. They attacked the rim on us. I thought the second half was better; the first half, we didn’t come ready.”

“We have three of our first four home games in district at our place, and we had to make sure we’re 3-0 at home,” said CHS coach Sean Jimenez. “Now, you flip it: We’ve got three of four on the road.”

The first of those three is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Volcano Vista’s Ring of Fire. The storm ended the Hawks’ 47-game winning streak in a 53-50 contest Jan. 21 in the Thunderdome, and the Hawks will be out for revenge.

The Rams and Storm meet again Feb. 16 in the RAC, which will be the final regular-season games for both.

Dribbles: The varsity win gave Cleveland a sweep of the evening’s action:

  • The Storm C team beat the young Rams, 63-55. Anthony Del Angel led CHS with 21 points, Kayden Decker paced RRHS with 20. The Storm frosh improved to 14-0.
  • The Storm JV held off the Rams, 66-63. Kevin Archuleta led RRHS with 18 points; Ajay Vigil paced the Storm with 15.