It was a bad day to be a No. 1-ranked boys basketball team on Saturday.
Class 5A’s Volcano Vista saw its 47-game winning streak halted at Cleveland, which rallied from 21 down at halftime to stun the top-ranked Hawks 53-50 in District 1-5A.
The top two ranked teams in Class 4A met at Highland; the No. 2-rated Hornets, the reigning 4A state champion, upended No. 1 Albuquerque Academy 72-61 in a nondistrict encounter.
Seventh-ranked Cleveland’s victory was not, in and of itself, a shock — unless you also factored how far behind Volcano Vista the Storm was in this game.
The top-ranked Hawks (18-1, 1-1) used a 26-2 run to lead Cleveland 32-11 at halftime. And the lead grew to 22 points early in the third quarter.
But Cleveland (14-5, 1-0 in 1-5A) recovered for its best victory of the season. And it wasn’t because of a great halftime speech, Storm coach Sean Jimenez said.
“We challenged them in the second half and they stepped up to the plate,” he said.
Cleveland’s defense limited Volcano Vista to just six field goals total in the second half. The Storm finally caught the Hawks at 48-all on a layup by Daniel Steverson with 2:57 to play.
Noah Padilla hit a 3-pointer to make it 51-48 with under 2 minutes to give the Storm the lead.
“Beating Volcano, who’s No. 1, who’s our rival, who’s on a 40-something game winning streak … it was one of our biggest comeback wins,” Jimenez said.
For the Hawks, it was their first loss April 30, 2021, against Atrisco Heritage.
“We’ve been in these games before, like against Sandia (in the recent metro tournament), and had to hold on,” Volcano Vista coach Greg Brown said. “(Today), they were the tougher team. And they put a lot of pressure on us. Defensively, we didn’t hold up the way we normally do.”
Steverson finished with a team-high 18 points. Freshman Remy Albrecht added 13 for the Storm.
Sophomore forward Kenyon Aguino led the Hawks with 20; VVHS’s Sean Alter had 9, but missed most of the fourth quarter after a hard fall in the final period.
- At Highland, in a matchup that may be a precurser to a postseason matchup at the Pit in March, the Hornets extended their winning streak over 4A opponents to 26 games, and Highland (12-6) never trailed against the Chargers (14-3), who lost for the first time to a 4A foe.
“The boys were feeling disrespected, that everyone is talking about Del Norte and Academy and not us,” Hive coach Justin Woody said. “We played hard and we wanted to show that we’ve still got a really good team this season.”
“It’s our house,” said Highland sophomore guard Jesus Licon, who scored 15 points. Teammate Alexis Dominguez had a team-best 16 for the Hornets.
Highland led 36-28 at halftime, and extended to a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter on a layin by Dominguez. Highland was the better and fresher team in the second half after both teams played Friday night. Academy was pushed hard for 32 minutes at Hope; Highland was able to rest some key players in a 37-point victory over Belen.
“We work out hard, 12 months a year, and days like this is when it shows,” Woody said.
n At Menaul on Saturday, Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Menaul (10-6) overcame Class 3A’s fourth-ranked Bosque School (12-6) in a 64-55 victory.
Although the Panthers amassed a 13-point lead, 32-19, in the second quarter, the Bobcats, with 3-pointers from Aidan Lester and Cooper Hautau, climbed with two, 36-34, by halftime. And a 7-0 run in the third quarter put Bosque School ahead 45-40.
Down 47-46 when the fourth quarter began, Menaul got back-to-back 3s from Sting Wu and Alex Rael — both in the corner next to Menaul’s bench — to lead for good at 52-47.
“We love the corner,” Panthers coach Gary Boatman said with a smile. “It gave us a spark.”
Senior forward Prashant Chouhan led the Panthers — who were coming off a tough home district loss on Thursday to the Academy for Technology and the Classics — with 23 points. Hautau had 23 to lead Bosque School.
Journal Staff Writer James Yodice and Gary Herron of the Rio Rancho Observer contributed to this story.