Rio Rancho junior Makenna Lee looks to an official to see who has possession during the Rams’ victory over Atrisco Heritage Academy last Tuesday in the RAC. (Herron photo)


Rio Rancho High School girls’ basketball coach Lori Mabrey figured her team would need a win or two in the District 1-5A tournament to get into the 16-team bracket to be released Feb. 26, and she was probably right.

So right, in fact, that her Rams went out and got two wins: They beat visiting Atrisco Heritage Academy 46-38 the evening of Feb. 21 and then went to Cleveland the next night and beat the district runner-up Storm.

Rams 46, Atrisco Heritage Academy 38: Closing out the first half on an 8-0 run, the Rams grabbed the lead and kept it.

The Jaguars got as close as three in the third period, which ended 29-23 and within three agai9n with 2:43 left in the game.

That final quarter was basically battled from the foul line,  where the Jaguars were 11 of 13 and the Rams just 4 of 13.

By game’s end, AHA had scored 16 of its points at the charity stripe, without a field goal in the second stanza, one in the third and two in the fourth.

Makenna Lee led the Rams with 12 points, and was 4 of 7 at the line; Julia Espinosa scored 10 points but was 0 for 3 there.

But a victory is a victory and getting to state is what it’s all about.

“I think (a loss) would have made it iffy,” Mabrey said, knowing team was ranked 16th in 5A by Max Preps, and that’s among the criteria used by the NMAA in determining which 16 teams advance to state.

“We’ve been 16th for about six, seven, eight straight weeks,” she said.  “We have been kinda idle there, and the two teams below us, and I don’t think they can win out but we lost to Roswell early and I was afraid that one might come back and bite us in the butt, because they’re kinda right in that mix for getting i.

“So, yeah, I think it was a must-win for us.”

Rams 35, Cleveland 27: Getting out to a 10-4 start as the first period ended the evening of Feb.22didn’t hurt the Rams’ cause in the Thunderdome.

The visitors led at halftime, 18-9, and after three quarters, 26-15. Only a 12-9 fourth quarter made the score respectable, in the same gym where the Storm (15-12) had beaten the Rams 46-28 five nights earlier.

Lee paced the Rams (14-14) with 18 points. Aubrey Jaramillo led the Storm with 12 before fouling out.

Dribbles: The All-District team was released this week, with Espinosa, Lee and Abi Armijo named to the first team for RRHS. Kindyll Sandoval, KC Winters, Savannah Madueno and Jaramillo are the Storm’s first-teamers.

… The Rams meet first-place Volcano Vista Friday evening at 7 in the Ring of Fire at VVHS.