RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The brackets for the Class 5A basketball tournaments were released late Sunday and for the third time, all in the past four seasons, all four of the city’s varsity basketball teams qualified for the state tournament. Here are the games for the Rams and Storm this weekend, plus the remainder of the first-round contests.
The winners of the girls’ games move into the 5A quarterfinals at Dreamstyle Arena—The Pit on Tuesday, March 12. The winners of the boys’ games move into the 5A quarterfinals at Dreamstyle Arena—The Pit on Wednesday, March 13.
FRIDAY, March 8 (Girls)
7 p.m., No. 9 Rio Rancho (17-11) at No. 8 La Cueva (18-7): The Bears handed the Rams their first loss of the season, 68-52, in the RAC on Dec. 21. The teams have met practically every season since the Rams inaugural campaign on 1997-98, including six times in the postseason; they’ve split those six contests, but the Bears have won the “biggest” ones, semifinal games in 2003 and 2009. The Rams ended La Cueva’s 2017-18 season after a 47-31 final in the RAC in a first-round meeting.
7 p.m., No. 10 Cleveland (19-10) at No. 7 Farmington (21-8): With their most wins in team history, and the best seed since the Storm also got the 9 seed for the 2012 tournament, Cleveland heads to the Four Corners to play a team it’s never lost to, including a 66-51 victory over the Scorpions in the championship game of the Joe Armijo Classic at Albuquerque Academy in December. The Storm are 3-0 all-time vs. FHS, meeting once in each of the past three seasons.
Other first-round games: No. 16 Deming at No. 1 Hobbs, No. 15 Eldorado at No. 2 Piedra Vista, No. 14 Oñate at No. 5 West Mesa, No. 13 Centennial at No. 4 Carlsbad, No. 12 Alamogordo at No. 5 Volcano Vista, and No. 11 Sandia at No. 6 Mayfield.
SATURDAY, March 9 (Boys)
5: 30 p.m., No.10 La Cueva (16-10) at No. 7 Cleveland (24-6): The Storm are 8-3 all-time vs. the Bears, and have won the last seven meetings, including a 79-60 victory at Manzano on Jan. 9 in the APS Championships. CHS coach Sean Jimenez’s teams are 4-0 vs. La Cueva. This is the third time the Storm have hosted the Bears in the first round, with CHS winning in the 2016 and ’17 tournaments. Cleveland is 11-2 in the Storm Center this season.
7 p.m., No. 3 Rio Rancho (19-8) vs. No. 14 Gadsden (16-9): This is the best seed the Rams have received. The Rams and Panthers have met three times, the first being in RRHS coach Wally Salata’s first game as head coach for the Rams, a 76-74 win in the RAC on Nov. 17, 2009. The teams met the next two years, with the Rams 2-1 in the three games. RRHS is 10-4 in the RAC this season.
Other first-round games: No. 16 Carlsbad at No. 1 Volcano Vista, No. 15 Oñate at No. 2 Las Cruces, No. 13 Capital at No. 4 Eldorado, No. 12 Manzano at No. 5 Santa Fe, No. 11 Roswell at No. 6 Atrisco Heritage Academy, and No. 9 Clovis at No. 8 Hobbs.