AP NEWS

Rams get late 3 to beat Hawks; hold off host Storm

February 23, 2019

Never trailing at Cleveland Friday evening, No. 10 Rio Rancho defeated the Storm 44-41.

An 8-0 run in the second quarter gave the Rams a double-digit lead, but the Storm ? who got just 2 points from their starters in the first half ? rallied late, tying the game at 31 with 7:30 left in regulation.

The Rams made 9 of 13 foul shots in the final period, barely holding off the Storm.

Laura Gutierrez had a game-high 15 for the Rams, and Michaela Meyer came off the bench to score 10, six of those points being free throws.

Held scoreless in the first half, Desiree Forster led CHS with 10 points.

″:I told the girls if we were going to win, that we needed to be aggressive,” RRHS coach Scott Peterson said. “I felt that, down the stretch, when we needed to make plays, we were aggressive. I felt like when we weren’t aggressive tonight, we let them back in the game.

“They’re so hard to play because of the rivalry, what it means, and playing them for the second time in a year,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for this program ? and I’m excited for what we did.”

The Rams have won the last six meetings with their City of Vision foe.

Heading into Tuesday’s tie-breaker vs. Volcano Vista, with a 5:30 p.m. tip at Atrisco Heritage Academy, the Rams are on a five-game winning streak ? which is how they opened the season.

Rams 33, Volcano Vista 32: The Rams pulled off an upset of the fifth-ranked Hawks and pulled into a tie for the top spot in district Wednesday evening, thanks to Gutierrez’s game-winning 27-footer.

The Hawks had beaten the Rams in two earlier meetings this season, 49-36 in the third-place game of the APS Metro Championships in January, and 62-33 in the Ring of Fire on Feb. 1 ? the Rams’ worse loss of the season.

Gutierrez finished with a game-high 16 points, which included four treys; the rest of her team amassed 17 points.

It wasn’t the first time Gutierrez had won a game with a last-second shot.

“It was deja vu from our 2017 district championship game vs. Cibola,” Peterson said. “Volcano Vista V averaged 56 points against us in the last two match-ups and we cut that down by 24 (Wednesday).

Gutierrez’s buzzer-beater heroics began when Hannah Dietz rebounded a missed Hawk free throw, Peterson said, with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

″(The score) was 32-30. We worked the ball around up top; they knew we were going for the win. At :03, Kelsie found Laura and Laura pulled up from 27 feet out and nailed it,” he said. “I’ve watched and re-watched the shot several?times; it was so exciting.

″(Now), we’ve got to get the job done Friday.”

And they did.

Rio Rancho coach Scott Peterson talks strategy with Abree Aldaz during a timeout Friday evening in the Storm Center.

Storm 42, Cibola 27: Forster led the winners with 20 points, but credit the Cleveland defense: In no quarter did the last-place Cougars score double figures.

Meanwhile, the Storm scored 10 points in three of the four and a dozen points in the second period.