RIO RANCHO — The Piedra Vista boys basketball team fell victim to what Cleveland has been doing to teams all season: pushing the pace to get out in transition and score points.
A lot of points.
After a solid first quarter, when the Panthers slowed the game down, Cleveland picked up the tempo and ran PV out of the gym for an 80-27 victory this afternoon at Cleveland High School.
"I've been told by plenty of people that if you get out and run with them, Cleveland will score 100 points. If they didn't have a running clock, they probably would have scored 120 points," PV coach Devon Manning said. "That's probably the most athletic team we've played so far this year."
PV had some success in the opening portion of the game. The Panthers (8-12, 0-3 District 1-6A) were patient in their offense, working the ball around the perimeter to find openings in the Storm's defense and trailed 18-10 heading into the second quarter.
But in the second, the hosts (16-5, 3-0) created separation, outscoring the Panthers 35-12 to take a 53-22 lead into halftime.
"We did a good job in the first quarter, but then they had three extra notches that we just couldn't match," Manning said. "Once they got going, they never slowed down."
It didn't get any better for PV in the second half. The Panthers were held scoreless in the third quarter, and scored just 5 points in the fourth.
PV won't have any easy games moving through the rest of its district schedule. Currently, the four other teams in District 1-6A — Cleveland, Cibola, Rio Rancho and Volcano Vista — all rank in the top eight of the most recent MaxPreps 6A rankings.
The task now for the Panthers is to respond to the brutal challenges that await and earn the respect of their district opponents.
"It's not going to do us any good to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves," Manning said. "To me, it shows more character for how you respond after a loss than after a win. We'll see what kind of character we have."
PV will get some time off to recover from the loss and prepare for another road swing, playing at Cibola (14-5, 2-2) on Friday and at Rio Rancho (13-8, 0-3) on Feb. 4.
Cleveland 67, Piedra Vista 55, 3OT
Games on back-to-back nights got to the legs of the Piedra Vista girls basketball team as the Lady Panthers fell to Cleveland 67-55 in triple overtime today at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.
"The girls gutted it out. We just ran out of gas there at the end," PV coach Joe Reed said. "Us playing back-to-back games in district is a real disadvantage to us. We don’t get a day off in between games, and I think that really caught us in the end tonight."
The game was tight the whole way.
Cleveland (7-14, 1-2 District 1-6A) started well, building a 7-point lead in the first half. But in the second half the Lady Panthers (11-10, 1-2) clawed back and held a 5-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
In the first overtime, PV trailed by 4 with about 1:30 left and rallied to force a second overtime.
Then in double OT, PV had a chance to win, getting a look from about 18 feet out as time ran down, but the shot didn’t drop, sending the game to the third overtime period.
PV will have another home swing next weekend, hosting Cibola (13-7, 2-2) on Friday, then Rio Rancho (11-9, 3-0) on Feb. 4.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.