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Posted Friday, Feb. 27, 2015


Tonight’s District 1-6A tournament game matching Rio Rancho High at Volcano Vista has been postponed.

The boys tournament semifinal has been postponed until Monday. The winner will play at Cleveland on Tuesday.

Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

As a result of postponements throughout the state, the announcement of pairings for the state tournament have also been delayed. The Class 6A boys pairings are now scheduled to be released Tuesday at approximately 10:30 p.m.


Posted Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

UP FOR TWO: Rio Rancho sophomore Jeremy Snider (24) puts up a shot over Cibola defender Malik Liddell (35) as two other defenders look on. Snider scored 12 points in the Rams' District 1-6A tournament victory over the Cougars.

Rams beat Cibola, get Volcano Vista next


The most important thing in tournament basketball was defined years ago: Survive and advance.

The third-seeded Rio Rancho Rams did just that Wednesday night, closing their game with No. 4 seed Cibola with a 16-0 run and getting 28 points from Brady Patterson to defeat the Cougars 59-43.

When Isaac Maldonado scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, the short-handed Cougars had a three-point lead at 46-43. Less than a minute later Carlos Sanchez sank a three-pointer for the Rams, his only points of the night, to tie the game. Jeremy Snider’s rebound basket at the 6:02 mark gave Rio Rancho for the lead for good.

“The last seven minutes was vintage,” said Rio Rancho head coach Wally Salata. “That’s ridiculous -- to shut them out the way we did is pretty hard to do against any time. That’s one of the better defensive efforts we’ve had all year.

“I told them at the beginning of the game there is going to be one run that we have, and it just happened to be when we needed it most at the end of the game. It was crazy.”

Coach Ray Rodriguez, playing his third game after two of his starters were suspended for a disciplinary issue, kept his team in the locker room for more than 15 minutes after the game.

“We were up three with 6½ minutes to go. We just don’t know how to finish games,” he said. “That’s a long time to ask them to finish, but we just totally melted down. We’ve done that all year in tight games.

“We had 22 turnovers against them, and that just kills you against them. They’re a momentum team. When they get the ball turned over and make a couple of threes they really get going. Then you’ve got to chase them around.

“We’ve got to completely believe and I think there is a little doubt.”

Patterson scored only three of his total in the fourth quarter as the rest of the Ram offense woke up at just the right time. The senior guard had 25 of his team’s 43 points to keep Rio Rancho in the game for the first three quarters, then found open teammates when the tiring Cougars began to double-team him more in the final period.

“Carlos hits a three. Jeremy Snider has four points. Isiah Ortiz y Pino has five points (in the fourth quarter),” Salta said. “When you have other players that step up…

“You saw they were doubling Brady. So the ball gets out of his hands, and the question is who is going to step up

“The first three quarters he kept us in the game, just like he’s done all year. Every time we needed a clutch shot Brady got it. Your best players in the state are the ones that step up, and Brady has done that in both football (as a defensive back on the state championship team) and in basketball.

“But you need your supporting cast around him.”

Rio Rancho had defeated Cibola three times in four games this season, losing to the Cougars in the Albuquerque Public Schools Tournament 76-64 on Jan. 9 before taking the two regular-season games (61-60 at Cibola on Jan. 277 and 78-70 at home on Feb. 12) But the Cougars had 6-6 senior Christian Cunningham and guard Carlos Barela at the time; their suspensions were first reported the day after the last game.

In the third contest Cibola had 45 points with 2½ minutes to go in the first half, only one less than they managed in the entire district tournament game.

Even with the big output and all his players in Game 3, Rodriguez was disappointed that his team did not better control the tempo against the fast-paced Rams. They seemed to do a better job on Wednesday, but Rio Rancho’s press forced the action in the third quarter.

Even though the Cougars outscored the Rams 22-17 in the third period to take a one-point lead, it was a win the battle, lose the war kind of thing. After battling a full-court press for the entire game on Tuesday in a 19-point victory over Santa Fe in the tournament opener, the fourth-seeded Cougars seemed to run out of gas against Rio Rancho pressure in the fourth quarter a night later.

“I thought we could have done a much better job breaking the press. We looked back instead of forward a lot,” Rodriguez said.
“We need to attack it. If they are going to pick us up full court, we need to make them pay on the other end.

“Controlling the tempo is a little tougher when we had the personnel change. I think our kids are doing a good job, but in the end they kind of unraveled.”

Said Salata: “Santa Fe pressed them the whole game. Even though they lost by 20, it was up and down. They exerted a lot more energy last night, and that kind of got to them by the time they got the fourth quarter. That’s hard.

“Most teams are going to break it (the press) some but we want to play a fast tempo. We scored 34 points in the second half, but we’re capable of scoring more. A win’s a win.”

Cibola’s methodical offense nearly worked. Neither team scored in the first 90 seconds of the game, and Cameron Dixon’s three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer gave the Cougars a 15-13 lead despite eight points from Patterson.

The Rams held Cibola to five points in the second quarter to take a 25-21 lead at intermission, but their best defensive effort was to come in the last period.

 “I really don’t like to play low scoring games, but if we have to we’ve been pretty successful doing it,” Salata said. “You’re going to have games like this that are going to be a grind. Cibola and Volcano in our district are two teams that are defensive-oriented.”

The Rams showed they can play a little defense too. They held the Cougars’ best remaining player, Malik Liddell, to six points and allowed just three Cibola three-point shots.
“We talked about doubling him when he got the ball down low and our guys did a good job of that,” Salata said. “He wasn’t able to go one-on-one with our guys inside.

“They’re a team that (normally) shoos the heck out of the ball. We did a good job on Liddell, and we did a good job on their shooters.

Salata wouldn’t be a coach without having some things he thinks his team needs to work on:

*Fouls – Cibola had 11 for the game, but only two in the first half, compared to 14 for the Rams (eight in the first half). “It seems like we’re always behind the eight ball when it comes to fouls, but I told the guys, ‘You can’t worry about the officials. Let me talk to the officials, because they’ll listen to me more than they will listen to you.’ “

*Turnovers and shooting: “We had 10 in the first half, and we missed a lot of layups. The margin should have been bigger.”

*Slow starts: “They’ve got to light a fire under themselves. I can’t be the one lighting a fire under them all the time. They’re playing the game.”

Even with those criticisms, Salata was thrilled that his team came back after an emotional loss to archrival Cleveland last week and that his team got him his first 20-win season in 16 years as a head coach, the last six at Rio Rancho.

“A team is judged on how it does after a loss. This is the seventh time this year where we’ve lost a game and come back the next game to win.

“I’d like to keep that streak going, but you can’t lose too many more games because we’re getting close to (the) state (tournament).The fun thing is we haven’t lost two games in a row this year. It was a grind game. We really had to work hard to get it.

“To get 20 wins – that’s a special goal four our program. It’s the first 20-win season in my career of 16 years, and I thanked the kids for that. People sometimes don’t realize how hard it is to win 20 games. Now that we’ve got 20, I told them, “Let’s get 21.For use to win night it just ensures a lot of things in the state tournament for us.”

Both teams will likely make the state tournament that begins a week from Saturday. The Rams were ranked fourth overall in Class 6A by MaxPreps, and Cibola 12th, entering the game.  The top 16 teams in the state make the state playoffs that begin Saturday, March 7.

Cibola now sits and waits for Selection Sunday on March 1, while the Rams continue on in the district at Volcano Vista on Friday. The Hawks are ranked 11th in the state but finished in a tie for second during the regular season district play with Rio Rancho, and earned the home-court advantage and No. 2 seed by beating the Rams twice.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to play Volcano,” Salata said. “Hopefully it will be a fun atmosphere.”

Friday’s winner plays for the district tournament championship at Cleveland. All games start at 7:30 p.m.

Desmond Carpenter 3 2-2 9; Zach Baca 0 1-2 1; Cameron Dixon 3 0-0 7; Sam Garcia 1 0-0 2; Isaac Brito 1 2-3 4; Ricardo Zambrano 0 0-0 0; Isaac Maldonado 5 4-5 15; Malik Liddell 3 2-2 8. Totals 16 11-14 46.

Bryan Parnell 0 0-0 0; Juan Hurt 0 0-0 0; Clay Patterson 0 0-0 0; Brady Patterson 10 3-6 28; Zach Garretson 3 2-4 8; Carlos Sanchez 1 0-0 3; Jeremy Snider 6 0-0 12; Isaiah Ortiz y Pino 2 1-2 5; Curtis Sisneros 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 6-12 59.

Cibola …………..16…..05…..23…..02 – 46
Rio Rancho …..14…..11…..18…..16 – 59

Three-point goals: Cibola 3 (Carpenter 1, Dixon 1, Maldonado 1); Rio Rancho 7 (C. Patterson 1, B. Patterson 5, Sanchez 1). Total fouls: Cibola 11, Rio Rancho 14. Records: Cibola 14-12, Rio Rancho 20-7.

All games start at 7:30 p.m.

*Tuesday, Feb. 24 – (4) Cibola 57, {5) Santa Fe 38
*Wednesday, Feb. 25 – (3) Rio Rancho 59, Cibola 46
*Friday, Feb. 27 – Rio Rancho at (2) Volcano Vista
*Saturday, Feb. 28 – Friday’s winner at (1) Cleveland

Posted Friday, Feb. 20, 2015

Cleveland's Adam Cook (42) scores two of his 11 points in the second quarter despite tough defense from Jeremy Snyder (24) of Rio Rancho. Cook scored 11 points, including the deciding basket late in the game, as the Storm defeated RRHS 67-62 tp c;omcj the first District 1-6A boys basketball title Friday night.

Three-pointer to end 3rd quarter
key in Storm's clinching game


There are 1,920 seconds in a regulation high school basketball game. Half of one of them may have provided the key play that allowed the Cleveland Storm to clinch their first regular-season district championship in school history.

Call Adam Cook “The Fisherman,” for his catch-and-release three-point shot with 0.5 seconds left on the clock at the end of the third quarter gave Cleveland an eight-point lead. And it was just enough for the Storm, as the 6-4 sophomore scored with 10 seconds left in the game to provide the deciding points in Cleveland’s 67-62 victory Friday night.

The victory gives the Storm the first District 1-6A title after expansion and reorganization of high school teams this year. It also means Cleveland is the No. 1 seed in the district tournament next week and will play at home on Saturday, Feb. 28, at against the survivor of the rest of the tournament.

The stepladder format matches No. 5 seed Santa Fe at No. 4 seed Cibola. That winner plays at No. 3 Rio Rancho on Wednesday night, and that winner plays at No. 2 Volcano Vista on Friday night. The survivor gets the champs.

All games tip off at 7:30 p.m.

Rio Rancho could have forced a playoff for first place with a victory over the Storm. And the Rams appeared in position to do just that, trailing by just two points (42-40) when the pivotal half-second happened.

Ryan Jones, who led the Storm with 24 points, drove to the basket, scored and was fouled with 0.5 on the clock. He sank the free throw to extend the Cleveland lead to five points.

Rio Rancho threw a long inbound pass in an attempt for a miracle score at the end of the period, but the ball went out of bounds along the sideline without being touched. That meant Cleveland regained possession under their own basket with no time elapsed.

Also under the rules a basket cannot be scored in 0.3 seconds or less if a player catches a pass, gains possession and puts up a shot. That means Cook had two-tenths of a second to spare to cut to the left corner, barely grip the inbounds pass and launch a fall-away trey that fell through has the horn sounded.

Cook’s miracle capped a 9-3 Cleveland run and gave the Storm a 48-40 lead after three quarters. Rio Rancho clawed back within two points midway through the fourth quarter and trailed just 63-60 with 19.8 seconds left after Juan Hurt made three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt.

But that’s when Cook put the game away, driving to the basket for a layup to give Cleveland a five-point lead with 10 seconds to go. The Storm conceded a basket, and Marcus Williams, who had 22 points for Cleveland, closed out the scoring with two free throws.

Cook had 11 points but also played a key role with this defense, rebounding and screens for his teammates.

Brady Patterson, who scored a school-record 45 points against Cleveland earlier this month, was “held” to 24 in the rematch. Zach Garretson had 12 points and Hurt 11 for the Rams.

Perhaps it was fitting that Cook, a sophomore, played a key role. It was Hurt, a sophomore for the Rams, who scored the game-winning basket with two seconds to go in overtime when Rio Rancho won at Cleveland 85-84 in overtime on Feb. 3.

Keyshawn Tindal 0 2-4 2; Marcus Gibson 2 0-0 4; Ryan Jones 6 9-12abe Ortega 1 1-3 3; Andrew Gonzales 0 0-0 0; Ryan Patrick 0 0-0 0; Josiah Mahboub 1 1-3 3; Adam Cook 4 2-4 11; Henry Hattis 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 26-39 67.

Bryan Parnell 0 0-0 0; Juan Hurt 3 3-3 11; Clay Patterson 2 0-0 4; Brady Patterson 9 2-3 24; Zach Garretson 4 3-3 12; Carlos Sanchez 1 0-0 3; Jeremy Snyder 1 0-2 2; Isaiah Ortiz y Pino 2 0-0 4; Carlos Sisneros 0 0-0 0; Walter Salata 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 8-11 62.

Cleveland…..08…..13…..27…..19 – 67
Rio Rancho..14,,,,,07…..19…..22 – 62

Three-point field goals: Cleveland 3 (Jones 2, Cook 1); Rio Rancho 8 (Hurt 2, B. Patterson 4, Garretson 1, Sanchez 1). Total fouls: Cleveland 13, Rio Rancho 23. Fouled out: Garretson. Records: Cleveland 24-2 overall, 7-1 in District 1-6A; Rio Rancho 19-7, 5-3.

Cleveland JV…..24…..16…..10…..22 – 72
Rio Rancho JV..20,,,,,21…..13…..12 – 68

Cleveland Freshmen 50, Rio Rancho Freshmen 47

Final District 1-6A Standings
                        District         Overall
Cleveland          7-1  .875     24-2  .923
Volcano Vista*   5-3  .625     16-8  .667
Rio Rancho        5-3  .625     19-7  .730
Cibola               3-5  .375    13-11 .542
Santa Fe            0-8 .000     11-15 .423
 * Volcano Vista earns No. 2 seed in district tournament with 2-0 record against Rio Rancho during the regular season.

FRIDAY’S Results
 Cleveland 67, Rio Rancho,62
 Cibola 59, Santa Fe 58


District 1-6A Tournament schedule

Tuesday, Feb. 24: No. 5 seed Santa Fe at No. 4 Cibola.

Wednesday, Feb.25: Santa Fe-Cibola winner at No. 3 Rio Rancho

Friday, Feb. 27: Santa Fe-Cibola-Rio Rancho winner at No. 2 Volcano Vista.

Saturday, Feb. 28: Santa Fe-Cibola-Rio Rancho-Volcano Vista winner at No. Cleveland.

All games at 7:30 p.m.


Posted Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

UP FOR TWO: Marcus Wiliams (10) puts up a shot against Cibola defenders Malik Liddell (35) and Isaac Maldonado (31) in the first quarter of Cleveland's victory.

Cleveland guard Jones scores 30 in victory


It was the kind of Senior Night all seniors want to have.

Ryan Jones scored 30 points, including three four-point plays, one three-point play and a dunk, to lead second-ranked Cleveland to a 77-58 victory over Cibola.

The win guarantees the second-ranked Storm, 23-2 overall and 6-1 in District 1-6A, at least a share of the regular-season boys basketball championship. They can win the title outright with a victory at Rio Rancho on Friday.

The Rams can claim the district title with a victory over Cleveland. Otherwise they finish tied for second with Volcano Vista and as the No. 3 seed in the district tournament after the Hawks won at Santa Fe 58-39 on Saturday.

Jones keyed three different offensive spurts that 1) helped Cleveland overcome a slow start and 2) allowed the Storm to stay ahead of the stubborn Cougars, who were playing without two starters suspended for disciplinary reasons.

“We had to come out hard tonight,” Jones said. “We had a little slow start but we picked it up in the second half.

“I’m always inspired to play, but I wanted to come out tonight on Senior Night and have a good performance so I could remember it.”

Said Cleveland head coach Brian Smith: “Definitely a memorable one for him.”

Even without one of the state’s top rebounders, Christian Cunningham, and guard Carlos Barela, the Cougars gave the Storm a game -- for a half.

Cibola got the early advantage and even led 15-13 after one period. After Cleveland tied the game, the Cougars ran off seven straight points for their biggest advantage of the night.

Cleveland responded with a seven-point run of its own to tie the game. Cibola hit a free throw for one final time, but Jones gave the Storm the lead for good with the first of his four-point plays by sinking a long jumper and converting a free throw. Cibola hung close and trailed just 28-27 at halftime.

Jones and the Storm took control at the start of the third quarter. The 6-2 senior started the half with another four-point play, then capitalized on a steal for his breakaway dunk.

He was part of a trap defense that forced a turnover, then found open teammate  Ryan Patrick for a three-pointer to cap the 9-0 spurt. In just 70 seconds the Storm had a 10-point lead.

“In the first half we played down (to their level) a little bit because they are missing a couple of players,” Jones said. “Coach got on us at halftime and told us we had to play as hard as possible no matter who’s on the court.

“They stated double teaming me sometimes so I found my teammates to get everyone going, because I’m not the only senior. I have to get the other seniors going too.”

Meanwhile, the Storm turned up the defense. Cibola made seven straight turnovers to start the quarter and had 10 in the period.

“If you want to point to something it’s those first seven possessions of the second half when we turned the ball over,” Cibola coach Ray Rodriguez said. “And then they get up and down, their pressure gets set and the emotion grows.

“We’ve just got to play a certain way. We got the scoring we knew we could get. But we’ve got the same problem we had before. When we get pressured, we turn the ball over. It’s not all our guards. They’re young, but they need help.

“I thought we put that in place, but it didn’t happen. But give them a lot a credit.”

Smith did just that – give credit to his defense for turning the game.

“Ryan got us going on the scoring side of it, and Josiah (Mahboub)’s defense in the second half really sparked us,” Smith said. “That string of turnovers -- that’s just a credit to our guys’ defense coming out and making the adjustments we had to make at halftime. I was real proud of the effort those guys put out there.

“I told our guys, and I told everybody, a team like that is dangerous. They’re either going to jell together, they’re going to come together, or they’re going to fall apart. In the first half they were very unified. They came together. They had nothing to lose. They were very relaxed. They had guys stepping up who hadn’t normally been stepping up.

“It’s a credit to our guys for withstanding that.”The margin grew to 14 by the end of the quarter as Marcus Williams threw in a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer. For the game, seven different Cleveland players hit 11 three-point field goals.

Cibola attempted a fourth-quarter comeback, getting within nine with 4:33 left. But on the next possession a basket was wiped out by an offensive foul call, and Jones racked up his third four-point play to push the Storm lead to 13. That play started another 9-0 run.

Cleveland eventually pushed the margin to 19 the first time with 2:47 left. That gave Storm coach Brian Smith the luxury of substituting for all of his seniors to get the last-game ovation all players yearn for.

Jones was the first to retire with 1:26 left. And after the game he finished his night where it started – at half court, accepting congratulations from a TV crew after being acknowledged as the last senior introduced.

Desmond Carpenter 0, Mike Murphy 0, Zach Baca 1, Cameron Dixon 20, Sam Garcia 0, Isaac Brito 8, Ricardo Zambrano 4, ISAA Maldonado  16, Malik Liddell 8, Jack White 1. Totals 18 13-19 58.

Keyshawn Tindal 2, Marcus Gibson 7, Ryan Jones 30, Marcus Williams 11, Gabe Ortega 0, Andrew Garcia 8, Ryan Patrick 5,, Justin Davis 5, Michael Armijo 0, Roope Henry 0, Adam Cook 0,, Henry Hattis 4, Jayden Phillips 2. Totals 18 10-11 77.

Cibola …….15……12…….13…….18 -- 58
Cleveland..13……15…….26…….23 -- 77

Three-point field goals: Cibola 9, Cleveland 11. Total fouls: Cibola 15, Cleveland 12. Fouled out: None. JV: Cleveland 61, Cibola54. Records: Cibola 12-11, 2-5 in District 1-6A; Cleveland 23-2, 6-1.

District 1-6A Standings

                        District         Overall
Cleveland          6-1 .856     23-2 .840
Rio Rancho        5-2  .714    19-6 .760
Volcano Vista     5-3  .625    16-8 .667
Cibola                2-5 .285     12-11 .521
Santa Fe            0-7 .000     11-14 .440

Cleveland 77, Cibola 58
Volcano Vista 58, Santa Fe 39

Cleveland at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.
Santa Fe at Cibola, 7 p.m.



*Tuesday, Feb. 24: (5) Santa Fe at (4) Cibola; district championship playoff game, if necessary (Cleveland at Rio Rancho)

*Wednesday, Feb. 25: Tuesday’s winner at (3) Volcano Vista/Rio Rancho.

*Friday, Feb. 27: Wednesday’s winner at (2) Volcano Vista/Rio Rancho/Cleveland

*Saturday, Feb. 28: Fridays winner at (1) Rio Rancho/Cleveland.
Tournament scenario:

1.Santa Fe is the No. 5 seed and will play at No. 4 Cibola on Tuesday night.

2.Volcano Vista will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed (see below).

3.Rio Rancho can be the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed. It will tie for the regular-season district championship if it defeats Cleveland on Friday night. That would require a one-game playoff on Tuesday at Rio Rancho, which would earn the home-court advantage by virtue of having defeated Cleveland twice during the regular season. A playoff winner is the No. 1 seed; a playoff loser the No. 2 seed; Volcano Vista the No. 3 seed.

4.Cleveland can be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. It would win the district title outright by beating Rio Rancho on Friday night. By losing, Rio Rancho drops into a second-place tie with Volcano Vista but to the No. 3 seed by virtue of an 0-2 record against the Hawks during the regular season.

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