Cleveland guard Angelique Abeyta tries to keep the ball from going out of bounds Friday evening.One doubleheader down; one doubleheader to go.
The Cleveland High School varsity basketball teams split a pair of games Friday night (Dec.17) in the Thunderdome, with the Storm boys beating the Mayfield Trojans after the Storm girls had been beaten by Mayfield.
The Cleveland teams headed down I-25 to play another pair of games at Las Cruces High on Saturday.
Perennial power Mayfield turned back an early second-half rally by the Cleveland girls basketball team to return to Las Cruces with a 50-36 victory Friday night.
Mayfield improved to 9-0 all-time vs. Cleveland.
Too many turnovers and too many missed free throws in the first half spelled doom for the Storm in the Thunderdome.
Mayfield scored 13 in each of the first two quarters; the Storm had 8 in each.
Cleveland managed to survive eight turnovers in the first quarter and making only 4 of 12 foul shots in the half, which ended with Mayfield ahead, 26-16..
When the third quarter began, the Storm (6-3) played tenacious defense and scored 7 straight points to make it a one-possession game, 26-23.
Mayfield went more than five minutes before scoring in the third quarter, which ended with the Trojans holding a 29-25 lead.
Cleveland was again down four, 31-27, when the Trojans went on a remarkable 16-3 run to ice the game.
Aubrey Jaramillo came off the bench to lead CHS with 13 points, 12 from behind the arc.
“We haven’t been playing very good in the first quarter,” coach Susan Kubala said. “The kids have to be ready to go, be focused and bring energy — and knock down shots.”
You wouldn’t think it’d be easy for the defending state basketball champion to see a 25-point lead in the second half dissolve into a one-possession game — on its home court — but that’s what happened Friday evening in the Thunderdome at Cleveland High.
Fortunately, sophomore Daniel Steverson came to the rescue for the Storm (4-1), draining a 3-pointer to up his team’s lead to six, 66-60, with 1:10 left in the game, and then calmly sinking a pair of free throws with 38.5 showing on the clock for a 71-63 edge.
Final score: Cleveland 73, Mayfield 63.
It shouldn’t have been that close, as the Storm had a seemingly safe 56-31 pad midway through the third quarter.
Later, ahead 62-48 with 6:59 to go, the Trojans (3-6) went on a 12-2 run to trim the deficit to 64-60, which became 66-63 soon after. And then Steverson took over.
With a game-high 23 points and a 9-of-10 outing at the foul line, he said the fourth quarter had been “not too scary; we’ve got a good surrounding cast, good chemistry and communicating, that’s all we gotta do.”
Antonio Avila, with 16 points, and Cole Savage, with 14, joined him in double figures.
Once again, CHS coach Sean Jimenez pointed to the team’s youthfulness.
“We’re trying to make the game interesting for the fans,” he joked. “We’re just glad we won.
“This year’s gonna be some growing pains, some learning pains for us,” he said. “Everybody we’re going to play this year? They’re coming after us.”