The second regular-season meeting between Cleveland and Rio Rancho high schools’ girls basketball teams was nothing like the first meeting, which required two four-minute overtime sessions to settle.
In the teams’ game last Tuesday in the RAC, the only constant was a Rams’ victory, this time 49-39; RRHS won the Jan. 30 contest at Cleveland, 57-54, and now has won the last four games in a row.
Remarkably, the Storm were scoreless in the opening quarter, falling behind 11-0 when it ended.
Guard Mariah Cordova came off the bench to get Cleveland on the scoreboard, nailing a 3-pointer 17 seconds into the second stanza.
Although they’d committed six turnovers to just two for the Storm, the sixth-ranked Rams led 23-9 at halftime.
The Storm, falling for the eighth time in their last nine games, opened the second half on a 6-0 run to get within eight — as close as they’d get in the half — and were down 29-19 after three periods. The Rams endured a stretch of 9:16 without a field goal as the Storm had crept closer.
Early in the fourth quarter, after the Storm had again cut the deficit to eight, the Rams went on a 15-5 run to grab an insurmountable, 44-26, lead with 2:11 to play. Laura Gutierrez and Kamirah Decker had four points apiece in that run, with Desiree Forster scoring all of the Storm’s points.
Fouling the Rams to stop the clock, in hopes some free throws would be missed, didn’t work for the Storm, as the Rams were 8-of-9 at the foul line over the final 3:10 of the contest.
Decker, valuable at both ends of the court with her height, led the Rams with 14 points, while Camryn Hawkins, often driving through traffic for layups, was also in double figures with 11. Forster led the Storm with 17 points, 15 coming after the break.
Rams coach Scott Peterson was happy with his team’s balanced scoring and rebounding — throughout the game, the Storm were basically "one and done" offensively — as Decker, for the most part, didn’t even have to jump to snag rebounds for the Rams.
Peterson was also happy with his team’s free-throw shooting: The Rams sank their first 14 attempts from the stripe before junior Mitchel Mortensen missed one — and made their final two, giving them a remarkable 16-of-17 outing from 15 feet.
They didn’t have anywhere near that success from behind the arc, making just 3-of-9 attempts, while the Storm were 2-of-7 from long range.
Cleveland handled the ball better, with just six turnovers in the game, compared to 16 for the Rams.
Ram dunks: Decker and Forster each led their team in scoring for the fifth game in a row last Tuesday. Decker had 20 points and Laura Gutierrez chipped in with 13 in the Rams’ 56-44 loss at first-place Cibola on Jan. 26. Forster paced the Storm with 16 points and Callahan Franklin added 10 in Cleveland’s 51-44 loss to Piedra Vista in the Storm Center on Jan. 27.
… The Rams, who were home Saturday to face Piedra Vista, have a non-district game Tuesday when Española Valley visits for a 7 p.m. contest. The Rams get back into the district campaign Thursday at Volcano Vista; the Rams beat the Hawks 44-30 in their first meeting in the RAC on Jan. 18.
… The Storm are home Thursday to face Cibola and then at Piedra Vista Friday evening; both games start at 7.