There was no way the No. 1 Hawks were going to let the Storm (17-6, 4-1) make an incredible comeback to beat them again in the Ring of Fire Thursday evening.
For those with short memories, the Hawks took a 47-game winning streak into the Thunderdome the afternoon of Jan. 21 and left with a one-game losing streak, after the Storm came back from a 33-11 deficit to win, 53-50.
Other than an 11-10 lead with less than two minutes to go in the opening period, the Hawks (21-1, 4-1) led the entire way, finishing with a 66-55 victory..
A 13-2 run erased that Storm lead, and the Hawks led by as many as 10 in the second stanza, and held a 28-20 lead at intermission.
After layups by Steverson and Albrecht reduced that deficit to 28-24, the Hawks went back to work, pounding the ball inside to their 6-7 sophomore, Kenyon Aguino, who scored 13 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter.
“We knew they were going to go down to him,” CHS coach Sean Jimenez said. “That’s their MO. He was tough today, tough to guard today.”
The Storm were basically one-and-done in the first half; if they didn’t score form the field, Aguino or Sean Alter snagged the rebound and started a break the other way.
Although Volcano Vista only led 48-39 heading into the fourth quarter, the Hawks maintained their lead between 8-12 points the rest of the way.
Steverson led the Storm with 28 points and Trujillo had 17.
“They had a bunch of offensive rebounds. Their first six points were all off offensive rebounds, so when they do that, they’re tough to beat,” he said. “Our kids fought, they battled to the end, we’ve just got to back to the drawing board and get ready for Atrisco.”
If the Storm and Hawks win out, they’ll still be tied for first place in 1-5A, although the Hawks, with their 11-point win compared to a 3-point loss to the Storm, will have the edge.
Cleveland has just one game next week; the Storm are at Atrisco Heritage Academy Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland beat the Jaguars, 80-62, in their Jan. 24 meeting in the Thunderdome.