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Peterson brings NBA pedigree to new job as Rio Rancho hoops coach

Rio Rancho High School has hired La Cueva assistant Scott Peterson as its head girls basketball coach.

Peterson for the last three seasons was an assistant varsity coach and head JV coach at La Cueva. He is a former boys head coach at Jemez Valley.

“It’s a place I feel like we can win, and I’m excited to bring a culture of aggressiveness and urgency,” Peterson said Wednesday. “I want to bring winning to that community.”

The 42-year-old served as the video coordinator and a player development coach with the San Antonio Spurs during the franchise’s 2002-03 championship season, and he also served as a volunteer assistant coach for several seasons with the Ritchie McKay-led University of New Mexico Lobos after his stint in San Antonio.

Peterson played at both La Cueva and Valley, and was an assistant for three years with the Vikings under Jerald Snider, including a 1996 state championship season.

Peterson was one of 14 applicants for the Rio Rancho vacancy, which was created when Pat Puentes resigned. Peterson, one of four finalists who interviewed for the job, is just the third head coach in the program’s history, following Puentes and Bob McIntyre.

Rio Rancho has qualified for the postseason in five of the last six seasons.

LOS LUNAS SUSPENSIONS: Los Lunas High head baseball coach Pete Candelaria remains under suspension after reports surfaced that he and two assistants drank alcohol in a hotel room during a Tigers road game last month.

Superintendent Dana Sanders was out of town Wednesday and unavailable for comment. She earlier told KOAT-TV that the coaches would not return until the completion of an investigation. The district athletic director, Wilson Holland, confirmed that Candelaria remains suspended as of Wednesday.

No players were involved, according to the report. The incident reportedly occurred in March; Los Lunas’ only overnight trip in March was a March 12-14 trip to the Farmington tournament. lists Jimmy Gonzales as Los Lunas’ current head coach.

METRO TRACK AND FIELD: The last of the metro championships for the school year begins today with the boys at Milne Stadium and girls at Wilson Stadium. Four field finals are scheduled, starting at 3:45 p.m. at each site: shot put, high jump, javelin and long jump. The 3,200-meter final also is today.

The remaining field events and the rest of the running finals are Friday as everyone moves to Community Stadium.

The field events Friday begin at 3:45 p.m., the running at 5 p.m. The meet will finish under the lights.

PIUS SIGNINGS: No fewer than 10 St. Pius athletes will sign national letters of intent today.

They are: Mercedes Pacheco, (New Mexico; volleyball); Tyrone Thomas (Fort Lewis, Colo.; golf); Patience Kennedy (Otterbein University, Ohio; track and field); Kelsey Owens (Air Force; track and field); Elias Limon (Colorado School of Mines; track and field); Gabriela Mora (Thomas University, Ga..; softball); Dominique Rivera (New Mexico State; soccer); Alexandria Otero (New Mexico State; soccer); Maddie Waszak (Northern Arizona; soccer); and Samantha Afonso (New Mexico State; soccer).

MORINIA SIGNS: Northern New Mexico College in Española has signed West Mesa guard Larry Morinia III to a letter of intent, coach Ryan Cordova said. Next week, the program expects to sign two more Albuquerque players: Daeshawn Baker of Highland and Ose Idiake of Valley.