Editor’s note: This article is from “The Voice,” the Observer’s student news section. It was submitted before basketball season ended. Although we couldn’t print it until now, we still wanted to feature these students’ work.

The RRHS varsity basketball team celebrates a big win over Cleveland on Feb. 18. This was coach Wally Salata’s 300th win. Courtesy photo

The Rio Rancho High School boys basketball team has had a pretty good season this year, going up against some of the toughest teams in our district.

We still rank No. 6 in the state, winning 12 games out of the 20 played so far. Impressively, in recent games they have stayed neck and neck with some of the best schools in the state, one of which was Volcano Vista, who is currently ranked No. 1.

In a recent interview with Wally Salata, the head coach for Rio Rancho boys basketball, he shares plans for the rest of the season and how they plan to progress going forward. When asked how they had been preparing for the season beforehand, he mentioned that he set up multiple games with very challenging opponents, including a tournament in Texas for more exposure outside of New Mexico.

To gather more information, we spoke to a few players on the team to get their perspectives on the season.

When asked about the strengths and weaknesses, senior Keagan Caton commented, “We need to play more as a team.”

He continued to say that they are still working on their team chemistry, but it continues to get better with every game. He also commented on his plans to progress through the season.

“I wanna work on my leadership and be able to communicate with my team better,” says Caton.

He plans to continue to help his team progress with the little time he has left with them. Sadly, after this season, his high school basketball career will be finished with the Rio Rancho basketball program.

“It’s sad that it is my last season; it’s been fun, and I want to go out strong,” he said.

When interviewing other players, they had similar thoughts about the season. Sophomore Jayden Johnson was asked how he plans to improve throughout the rest of the season.

“I want to put in work before and after practice,” said Johnson, “being the first to show up, and the last to leave.”

We are glad to report Johnson has no intentions on giving up and will continue to give it his all through the rest of his high school career.
His teammate Andrew Sanchez has similar plans to work outside of practice to progress as a player.

With Sanchez reaching the end of his high school career, he says, “It hurts, it’s sad, but we just do what we can, and get as far as we can.”
Junior Maddox Presser had a lot to say about his teammates as well.

“Andrew is a fantastic 3-point shooter; Keagan is all around an amazing offensive machine; Jayden is aggressive; Jamal (Bynum) is a great dribbler and play-maker; everyone brings something to the table,” said Presser.

With such high regard for his team, it is safe to say there is a lot of good team chemistry this year, and we can’t wait for it to continue into next year as well.

Finally, senior Jeremiah Morris had some final thoughts.

“Watch out for us, we are coming for state,” he said.