What basketball coach doesn’t love defense? Here, Rams Mikey Wood (11), Jamal Bynum (30), Josiah Marfil (24), Sean Parisian (32) and Estevan Morales (21) spread across the floor as a Capital player in-bounds the ball Wednesday evening. A few seconds later, Marfil went in for a layup and a commanding 20-7 Rams lead. (Herron photo)


The Rio Rancho High School boys basketball team played one of its best-ever games for coach Wally Salata Wednesday evening of Dec. 21 in the RAC, routing Capital High 69-30.

The Rams (5-4) excelled offensively and defensively, maybe best exemplified by an almost-unbelievable 24 assists on 32 made baskets.

That’s called sharing the ball, which possibly pleased Salata more than the way his team overwhelmed a respectable Jaguars (6-3), who lost in its previous visit into the City of Vision, 74-63, at Cleveland on Dec. 3 in an opener.

Although the Wednesday evening game was far from over in the opening quarter, the Rams used a 14-0 run after the teams were knotted at 2 to pull away. By the time the first period ended, the rams were ahead22-9, and the Jaguars had committed 10 turnovers, plagued by a pesky RRHS defense.

The second period was Capital’s best, as it put a dozen more points on the scoreboard, but still trailed substantially, 37-21, at halftime.

Capital managed only 9 points in the entire second half, much of it played with the running clock in operation when the Rams had leads of 35 or more points. Capital also was erratic from 3-point range, making only two of 17 such attempts.

Jayden Johnson and Maddox Presser shared scoring honors with 12 points apiece, Josiah Marfil had 10; eight Rams got into the scorebook with 3 or more points.

“Thirty points? I never expected that against a (head coach) Ben Gomez team,” Salata said. “I thought after Friday night’s (57-45 loss) game with Carlsbad, we had a 30-minute meeting on things we’ve got to do to get better.

“We got the ball inside to Maddox Presser, who they did not have the size to defend. It was a team effort – everybody played tonight, which we haven’t done.

“We’ve got to get more players in to get time; this was a good time to do it, because Jamal can’t play 32 minutes a game. Mikey can’t play 32 minutes a game. It’s too much.” (Both were active in fall sports, and Wood missed much of the football season with a broken collarbone.)

Several players were sick, as well, “and they’re still playing hard. That’s what I comment them about: ‘When you’re out there on the court, give it your all.’”

Although the Rams weren’t totally flawless – they had 23 turnovers of their own – holding a team like Capital to 30 points and having your defense play a role in forcing the bulk of the Jaguars’ 29 turnovers made Salata a happy man.

Ram dunks: The Rams are closing out this weekend with their annual Jalene Berger Allstate Holiday Hoops Classic. After Wednesday’s game with Socorro (Texas), the Rams will meet Espanola Valley or Sandia Prep today (Dec. 29) at 7, with a win Wednesday, or 3, after a loss Wednesday.