For the second time in seven days, the Sandia High boys’ basketball team was more than Cleveland High could handle — although in the second meeting, the Storm led throughout the first three periods.
Sandia 66, Storm 59: Trying to avenge that 20-point loss to the Matadors in an APS Metro semifinal game six nights earlier, the Storm 12-5)seemed poised to pull an upset in the Northeast Heights Thursday evening (Jan. 12).
Cleveland led 15-8 at the end of the first period and 33-24 at halftime, but the advantage dwindled to four, 46-42, heading into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Matadors (13-3) used a 12-0 run to open the final period and the reeling Storm couldn’t get closer than two possessions the rest of the way, even though they drastically reduced their turners from 15 – in the first half alone in their first meeting with SHS – to six in the first half and a respectable 15 by game’s end, the Matadors’ scoring punch was too much.
And, the Storm’s long-range prowess dropped: Storm shooters made six of 10 shots from behind the arc in the first half, then a mere one of 13 in the decisive second half.
“Live and die by ‘em,” Jimenez said. “We did a good job – in the first half, those 3s were off somebody else passing; the second half, we were (using) just a one-dribble pull-up, and it wasn’t really reversing the ball to get rhythm shots. They were a little bit tougher shots.”
The Matadors also started defending Remy Albrecht better in the second half.
For only the second time this season, CHS had four players in double figures: Albrecht, with three treys in the first half and none of five attempts in the second half, scored 15 points; Noah Padilla had 13, Nic Trujillo scored 12 and Daniel Steverson added 10.
The Storm are in action again Saturday at 3, when the Hobbs Eagles visit the Thunderdome. On Dec. 30, the Storm beat the Eagles 57-54 in the fifth-place game at the Hobbs Holiday tourney.