Feature photo: Cleveland High celebrates its title at the Metro Championships (Russell Gurule).
By Russell Gurule
For Enchantment Sports
That’s the chant of many Cleveland fans this week.
The (16-0) Cleveland Storm came into the Metro Championship tournament undefeated and finished as back-to-back champions with a 48-47 win over Volcano Vista (13-1) in the championship final.
Cleveland can now be considered the undisputed No. 1 team in the state, having won the prestigious Hobbs Holiday title last month.
But March is still a long way off, and there are more battles with Volcano Vista and others in rugged District 1 5-A ahead.
Cleveland has two games this week; on Tuesday (Jan. 14) at home against Manzano (3-8) at 7 p.m., and at Highland (7-5) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Volcano Vista is obviously a formidable state title contender with plenty of opportunity in District 1 to build its resume. A rematch with Cleveland looms ahead for the Hawks in the coming weeks.
Volcano Vista play host to Albuquerque High (5-7) at 7 p.m., on Thursday and are at Clovis (11-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Albuquerque High showed signs of turning its season around with two victories and a semi-final appearance in the Metro Championships. Albuquerque High is at Cibola (5-7) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Eldorado (11-2) came within a couple of possessions of playing in the Metro Championship final before losing to Cleveland 56-51 in the semifinals. Eldorado showed it has the ability to beat anyone on any given night.
This will be a dangerous team come state tournament time.
Eldorado has two road games this week, on Tuesday at Atrisco Heritage (8-5) at 7 p.m.,
and at Rio Grande (3-8) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
La Cueva (7-5) had a good Metro showing with three victories — over Del Norte, Hope Christian, and Rio Rancho. The Bears appear to be gaining momentum for district play.
La Cueva has three home games this week; Tuesday against Sandia (3-9) at 7 p.m., Thursday against Rio Rancho at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2:30 vs. Cibola (5-7).
Valley (8-5) came away with two victories in the Metro, beating Atrisco Heritage and Highland on the consolation side of the bracket after stumbling against Albuquerque High.
Cibola which has struggled this year with a young team is now on a three-game win streak. The Cougars won the consolation side of the bracket at the Metro Championship with victories over West Mesa, Del Norte, and Valley.
The Cougars are at Manzano on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Down south, Las Cruces High (15-1) continues to roll and has a 10-game winning streak since losing to Volcano Vista in December.
The Bulldawgs took a 70-41 victory over Deming (4-8) last week and faces Centennial (7-9) at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Centennial is coming off two very big wins against Alamogordo (12-4) and Oñate (14-2).
Oñate looks to rebound this week at Deming on Tuesday at 7 p.m. On Thursday, Oñate plays host to Alamogordo at 7 p.m.
Carlsbad (11-4) and Roswell (12-5) are holding strong as district play is about to get into full swing.
Up north, Capital (11-2) has home games against Valencia and Española Valley (9-6).
Meanwhile, Santa Fe (12-3) is coming off a nice home victory over Clovis, 62-53. The Demons are at Española Valley on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Gallup (10-3) has been building a nice record. This week the Bengals go through the gauntlet as they play host to Rio Rancho on Tuesday and at (12-6) Hobbs on Thursday and at Lovington (10-4) at 3:30 p.m.
We’ll find out more about Gallup after this week.
In 4A, Taos (11-4) takes a six-game winning streak into the Hope Christian Invitational this week. Taos plays St. Pius X on Thursday at 10 a.m., at Hope.
Russell Gurule was born and raised in Albuquerque and is a long-time resident. He graduated from Highland High and also attended Hope Christian. Russell is a long-time observer of New Mexico Lobo and high school athletics. Logistics is his day job. Basketball and politics are his passions. To contact Russell with comments of tips, please email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.