LOS LUNAS – Daniel Steverson seemed surprised.

“Holy moly,” he said with a smile.

His coach, Zack Cole, was even more caught off guard.

“How many?” Cole said.

The response was: 41.

“Really?” Cole said. “You gotta be kidding me. I don’t think any of us paid attention to that.”

If it is possible to have a quiet 41-point performance, then Cleveland High School senior guard Steverson accomplished that on Tuesday night.

This was not only a matchup of the team ranked No. 2 in the first Class 5A coaches poll of the season, Cleveland, facing the team ranked No. 3 in Los Lunas.

It brought together two of New Mexico’s great guards, Steverson and the Tigers’ Jalin Holland.

Steverson went 2-for-2. He outscored Holland 41-36, and Cleveland earned a tough 67-61 victory over the Tigers.

Steverson said he believed that was a career high for him with the Storm, and that it came in such an early key matchup among 5A powers only added to the satisfaction.

“Getting these early wins, gets us a lot of momentum,” the 6-foot-3 Steverson said. “It’s a really good win.”

His scoring was pretty evenly distributed. He scored nine in the first quarter, nine more in the second quarter, and nine points in the third quarter. He scored 14 points in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Los Lunas (1-1) led 52-51 when the fourth quarter began.

Steverson was fouled on a 3-point try in the opening seconds, and buried all three attempts as the Storm (2-0) took its first lead (54-52) since very early in the opening quarter.

He put home an ally-oop from teammate Remy Albrechts on the next trip for a 56-52 lead, and nailed a 3 from the top of the key for a 59-52 lead 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Holland, the white-hot 6-4 junior who is the most recruited player in the state, took over briefly to get Los Lunas square. Holland scored seven straight, including a 3 of his own midway through the quarter.

“Obviously, we were trying to give Jalin the least amount of touches possible,” Steverson said. “Because he’s really good. We were just trying to deny him the ball.”

The Tigers briefly reclaimed the lead on two free throws at 61-59 with 3:01 remaining, and they didn’t score again.

Steverson’s short jumper tied the game with 2;51 to go. He added a layup with 1:57 left for a 63-61 lead, and also hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds showing for the final margin.

“That’s what we’ve been working on with Daniel, letting it come to him,” Cole said, adding, “Very impressive.”

Steverson was 12-of-23 from the field, and he made all 13 of his free-throw attempts. He hit four 3-pointers.

Holland had 17 points at halftime, His 3 with 3:56 left in the game were his final points.

Los Lunas was nursing a lead throughout most of the contest. The Tigers led by as many as nine (34-25) late in the first half.

Logan Tafoya added 14 points for Los Lunas. Noah Padilla scored 13 for Cleveland in support of Steverson.

“This early, you want to play these types of games to toughen you up. Iron sharpening iron, so to speak,” Cole said. “You want to play as many good teams as you can and we have a lot of them on our schedule.”

Cole said he didn’t have the luxury of enjoying the Steverson-Holland duel, at least in person.

“When you’re locked in the game, no,” he said. “But when we watch film … these two guys are really good.”

For Cole, his next game will be a weird one; the Storm plays host to Santa Fe High on Friday. Cole left the Demons in the offseason to take over at Cleveland.