Prep basketball: Volcano Vista seals deal this time, tops Cleveland in 1-vs.-3 rematch - Albuquerque Journal

Prep basketball: Volcano Vista seals deal this time, tops Cleveland in 1-vs.-3 rematch

Volcano Vista made sure to close it out this time.

Class 5A’s top-ranked boys basketball team, with the wound of an unexpected second-half collapse less than two weeks earlier to the same team perhaps still fresh, trailed for only 57 seconds on Thursday night, and Volcano Vista, playing at home, held off No. 3 Cleveland 66-55 in a District 1-5A matchup.

The Hawks (21-1) overall pulled even with the Storm (17-6) for first place in the league standings. Both teams are 4-1 in district, and each has three regular-season games remaining.

When these teams met Jan. 21 in Rio Rancho, Volcano Vista blew a 22-point lead in the second half. And because of that, Cleveland was in position Thursday night to put a hammerlock on the regular-season 1-5A title if it could have doubled down with another win in the rematch.

“Last time, we didn’t play a good second half. We let up,” said sophomore forward Kenyon Aguino, who had a stellar night for the Hawks, scoring 33 points. He was 13 of 16 from the field. “(Tonight), we were trying to execute for all 32 minutes.”

It was Volcano Vista’s two bigs, the 6-7 Aguino and 6-9 senior Sean Alter, who controlled the first half. Those two combined for 20 points and dominated the defensive glass for the Hawks, who led 28-20 at halftime.

But Cleveland created immediate anxiety as the third quarter began. Daniel Steverson had a layup off a Volcano Vista turnover and Remy Albrecht had a reverse layup, both in the first 30 seconds. Hawks coach Greg Brown burned a timeout to regroup his troups.

“They’re a good team,” Brown said. “That’s the thing. Cleveland’s athletic, and they play with such force and they’re downhill players, and they put so much pressure on you on both sides of the ball.”

But unlike the first encounter, Volcanco Vista had an answer for every Storm challenge. Aguino and Alter, on putbacks, had the next four to regain the eight-point cushion the Hawks owned at halftime.

And so it went throughout the second half. Cleveland inched closer on several occasions, but Volcano Vista simply would not allow a repeat of Jan. 21.

“We told them to lock in,” Brown said. “We knew what was at stake.”

The end of the third quarter proved important. Cleveland trailed 40-36, but the Hawks rattled off eight straight points. Aguino had two baskets near the rim, one of them resulting in a three-point play, and he also hit a 7-foot jumper for a 48-36 lead with 9.5 seconds to go in the quarter.

Cleveland didn’t get closer than seven points in the fourth quarter, mostly because Volcano Vista stood firm.

The Hawks only made three field goals in the final eight minutes, but those were their only field-goal attempts. Volcano Vista also was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

Brown said it was, in hindsight, constructive for his team to have gone through the first loss to Cleveland. It served the Hawks well, he said, on Thursday.

“We needed that,” he said. “Tonight, we were pretty solid throughout.”

Steverson scored 28 points, Nic Trujillo 17 for Cleveland.


CLEVELAND (17-6, 4-1 in 1-5A): Nic Trujillo 17, Daniel Steverson 28, Remy Albrecht 7, Jaden Davis 2, Stratton Shufelt 1. Totals 17 15-20 55.

VOLCANO VISTA (21-1, 4-1): David Gutierrez 5, Anthony Gonzales 2, Hudson Brown 3, Micah Quintana 1, Devon Ramos 9, Rian Gonzales 3, Kenyon Aguino 33, Sean Alter 10. Totals 23 16-18 66.

Cleveland 11 9 19 16 — 55

Volcano Vista 12 16 20 18 — 66

3-point goals: C 6 (Steverson 3, Trujillo 2, Albrecht); VV 4 (Gutierrez, Brown, Ramos, R.Gonzales). Total fouls: C 17; VV 17. Fouled out: C, Shufelt. Technical: C coach Jimenez.

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