If anyone in the City of Vision thought Rio Rancho’s 74-48 victory at Cleveland High on Feb. 18 was a fluke, they should have seen Wednesday’s rematch – the District 1-5A second-round contest in the RAC.

The Rams (16-9) led from start to finish, beating the Storm (13-15) 71-57 for the right to advance to Thursday’s semifinal contest at Atrisco Heritage Academy. That game’s winner heads to the Ring of Fire at Volcano Vista for the district championship against the unbeaten Hawks.

An 11-3 run in the first quarter helped the Rams put some distance between themselves and the Storm, who had a 10-3 run of their own to start the second period.

It wasn’t nearly enough, as the Rams – who led 23-8 at the end of the first quarter – took a 31-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Rams’ lead remained at 13 (45-32) heading into the fourth period, when the Storm got as close as nine, 48-39, after a layup “and one” by Elijah Brody.

The rams responded with a “nothing-but-net” 3-pointer by Andrew Sanchez, and the Rams held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Junior post Maddox Presser turned in his best game of the season with a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds, for the Rams before fouling out. Keagan Caton led the Rams with 23 points, while Daniel Steverson led the Storm with 18 points, and Brody and Nic Trujillo came up with 13 apiece.

Thursday’s contest at Atrisco Heritage Academy tips off at 5:30 p.m. The teams have split their two games, but the Rams won at AHA, 56-53, on Feb. 9.

Rio Rancho senior Keagan Caton (24) battles for the ball in the first quarter Wednesday evening in the RAC. (Herron photo)