Ortiz’s offensive rebound and putback with 1:46 remaining put the Matadors ahead for good, and Sandia’s defense held Cleveland scoreless over the final 2:09 for a 53-47 nondistrict victory.
Ortiz rebounded a 3-pointer by teammate Astrea Reed.
“We’re trying to get her to play a little more physical,” Sandia coach Susan Kubala said of Ortiz. “She’s a big kid; she played football in YAFL.”
That basket helped the Matadors (11-4) avoid having to discuss blowing an 11-point lead in the second half.
Sandia led 43-32 late in the third quarter, but the Storm (7-11) turned the defensive screws on the Matadors in the fourth quarter, and Karlie Peck’s layup with 2:09 to go made it 47-46 Storm.
“We’ve played up and down at times,” Kubala said. “We’re a very youthful team. At times we look composed and together, and all of a sudden, we look … extra nervous.”
Reed’s 20 points led all scorers.
Peck and Natalie Medina each had 11 points for the Storm.
— James Yodice
RIO GRANDE 62, WEST MESA 52: Jordaine Trujillo scored 19 points to lead the visiting Ravens past the Mustangs in their District 5-5A opener. Rio Grande was 10-of-12 from the line in the fourth quarter to maintain its edge.
HIGHLAND 48, ABQ. HIGH 44: At Bulldog City, Sydney Graham had 14 points for the Hornets in a 5-5A opener.
CIBOLA 42, HOPE CHRISTIAN 41 (OT): at Cibola, The Cougars avenged a loss last month to the Huskies; Leala Longmire of Hope had a late shot in regulation to force the OT.
VOLCANO VISTA 50, ABQ. ACADEMY 19: At Volcano Vista, the Hawks’ defense held the Chargers scoreless in the first quarter.
SANDIA 74, HOPE CHRISTIAN 63: At Sandia, Adam Cumber and Camrron Bean each had 15 points for the 12-3 Matadors.
LA CUEVA 81, RIO RANCHO 73: At La Cueva, Bryce Alford paced the Bears with 36 points and La Cueva held off the scrappy Rams.
ELDORADO 78, DEL NORTE 40: At Eldorado, Cullen Neal had 12 points and 12 assists as the Eagles rolled. Zach Gentry had a team-high 16 points for Eldorado.
ABQ. ACADEMY 63, CAPITAL 56: At Academy, the Chargers won a high-profile 4A matchup as Academy won every quarter from the Jaguars.