RIO RANCHO — Volcano Vista was a winner. So was Cleveland, both directly and indirectly. And the boys basketball standings in District 1-5A, New Mexico’s most successful and competitive league, were definitely in flux on Friday night.
The Hawks pulled away in the second half for a 47-33 victory at Rio Rancho on Friday, a victory that kept Volcano Vista, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A, from falling two games out of first place in a district where there are only eight games total.
“Yeah, this was super important,” said sophomore combo guard Rian Gonzales, whose three 3-pointers in the second half were vital to Volcano Vista (19-1, 2-1 in 1-5A) after halftime. “Coming after the loss against Cleveland, we needed a win to get back in the flow of things.”
Six days earlier, the Hawks led at Cleveland by 22 in the second half, but the Storm rallied to win and it was a stinging setback for Volcano Vista.
No. 8-ranked Rio Rancho and No. 4 Cleveland started Friday night tied for the lead in 1-5A.
The Rams (14-6, 2-1) were well positioned, leading 14-13 at halftime. Volcano Vista was hamstrung by a couple of things: starting guard Hudson Brown, who separated his shoulder in a recent practice, hardly played in the first half. Sophomore forward Kenyon Aguino, dealing with a minor injury of his own, didn’t spend much time on the floor, either, after collecting two fouls in the game’s first two minutes. He didn’t return the rest of the half.
But those two set the tone as the third quarter began. Brown nailed an early 3, and the 6-foot-7 Aguino had a couple of close looks that he finished. A bit later in the quarter, Gonzales buried the first of his 3s, and Aguino added a short jumper for a 27-20 lead.
“It’s nice to have Kenyon on the floor. He makes a difference,” Hawks coach Greg Brown said, adding, “In the second half, the ball started going in for us a little bit from 3 (and) Rian came up big for us.”
Another Gonzales 3, plus a layup by the cutting Anthony Gonzales, put the Hawks in front 32-22 late in the third quarter.
The last of Rian Gonzales’ 3s, early in the fourth quarter, upped the lead to 35-24, and the Rams were not closer than 10 points the rest of the way. On the perimeter, Gonzales benefited immensely from Aguino’s presence.
“When we play simple, we get open shots, and I like our chances when we get open shots,” Brown said.
Aguino had 11 of his team-best 13 points in the second half for Volcano Vista. Sean Alter, Rian Gonzales and Anthony Gonzales, all scored nine points.
Cleveland (16-5, 3-0), meanwhile, routed Cibola 70-31 on Friday and assumed sole possession of first place. Next week’s key matchups include Volcano Vista against third-ranked Atrisco Heritage (17-4, 1-2 and in fourth place in 1-5A), and Rio Rancho-Cleveland, both Tuesday, then the Hawks against Cleveland on Thursday on the West Side.
VOLCANO VISTA 47, RIO RANCHO 33
VOLCANO VISTA (19-1, 2-1 in 1-5A): EJ Jordan 4, Anthony Gonzales 9, Hudson Brown 3, Rian Gonzales 9, Kenyon Aguino 13, Sean Alter 9. Totals 14 15-20 47.
RIO RANCHO (14-6, 2-1): Mikey Wood 2, Estevan Morales 4, Jerry Archuleta 7, Jamal Bynum 13, Jayden Johnson 5, Maddox Presser 2. Totals 13 6-9 33.
Volcano Vista 6 7 19 15 — 47
Rio Rancho 6 8 8 11 — 33
3-point goals: VV 4 (Gonzales 3, Brown); RR 1 (Archuleta). Total fouls: VV 9; RR 16. Fouled out: RR, Presser. Technical: VV coach Brown.