That 10-5 Rio Rancho lead heading into the second quarter was but a memory by halftime, after the Eagles (11-2) played a role in a dozen Rams turnovers and out-scored the Rams (7-5) 21-1.
That double-digit lead left the Rams in the dust, and they fell behind by even more after Hobbs out-scored them 26-7 in the third period.
Hobbs easily won the game, 64-37, and the Eagles haven’t lost to Rio Rancho since the second month of the 21st century.
Hobbs coach Joe Carpenter had a vague memory of that, recalling Rams standout Bri Rode probably having something to do with that Hobbs setback. Rode, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, also had a role in the Rams’ only other victory over Hobbs, 63-60 in a pre-playoff contest at Wrest Mesa in March 2000.
The last time Rio Rancho beat Hobbs, Mabrey was known as Lori Stephenson and an assistant on the Rams staff. The Eagles ended Rams’ hopes in the postseasons of 2007, ’14, ’18 and ’19.
Since the 2001 meeting, Hobbs has gone 7-0 vs. the Rams, with four of those victories coming in state playoff action.
Sophomores Brynn Hargrove, Bret Clay and Kyndle Cunningham led the Eagles, with 15, 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“We’ve got a good group of sophomores,” he added.
The Rams were led by senior Julia Espinosa, who had 11, all inside the paint and many on easy putbacks over the shorter Eagles.
Is his team peaking, Carpenter was asked.
“I thought our defense was suspect tonight at times,” he said, although it was the Eagles’ full-court oppress opening the second quarter that spelled doom for the Rams.
“They had a post (Espinosa) in there, and they did a good job of finding her,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well; we came off the bus horrible in that first quarter, and I sensed we weren’t right.”
The Rams meet the loser of the second Tuesday, host Cibola vs. La Cueva, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Hobbs moved on to face the winner of the second Tuesday evening game, at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.