For a period of about five minutes Tuesday night, the Rio Grande Ravens were locked in.
They were shooting; they were rebounding; they were defending.
They were leading.
And when sophomore guard Juwan Brooks scored on a tough layup midway through the second quarter, Rio Grande led this nondistrict boys basketball game 28-27.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, La Cueva owned much of the rest of the game.
Senior guard Bryce Alford, a University of New Mexico recruit, had a game-high 32 points and the Bears topped the century mark with a big second half in a 105-82 victory over the visiting Ravens.
“We gave up way too many easy looks,” Rio Grande coach Sean Jimenez said. “I don’t know how many wide-open layups we gave up.”
La Cueva got on top of Rio Grande early and led most of the way.
“We came out scared,” Jimenez said, “and I don’t know why. We have to put four quarters together.”
After battling back from an early double-digit deficit, the Bears (3-1) rattled off 11-0 straight points to end the first half and break a 35-all tie.
Then La Cueva came out and broke it open in the third quarter with a 38-point period.
The entire eight-minute session was summed up nicely when La Cueva’s Ryan Wenze-Bullard banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for an 84-62 bulge. That’s how it went for Rio Grande (2-3) after halftime.
“We didn’t have great shot selection,” said Rio Grande senior post Mike Torrez, who finished with 18 points.
The Bears pulled their starters with five-plus minutes remaining.
Brooks finished with a team-best 21 points for Rio Grande.
“We have a long way to go,” Torrez said.
The Ravens take on Los Lunas tonight.
“We knew this would be a tough night,” Jimenez said. “It just wasn’t our night. But our goal is to be playing good basketball in January, February and March.”