Rio Rancho’s Rode California bound

Rio Rancho senior Brio Rode has her team off to an 8-0 start headed into today’s semifinals of the Plateau Holiday Classic at The Rock. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

By Dave Wagner

Brio Rode has done almost everything she can at Rio Ranch, except win a Class 5A girls state basketball title.

Surrounded by perhaps the best team in the school’s seven-year existence, her chances this year look to be pretty good.

“As a team, we’ve gone into every year wanting to win it,” the 5-foot-11 senior guard said. “A state championship would be a good note to go out on.

“But if it doesn’t happen, I try to take the positive things. As long as we go out there and give it our all, I think we have a chance to win it.”

Rode’s services weren’t much needed in Monday’s 63-25 pounding of Amarillo Tascosa in the quarterfinals of the Plateau Holiday Classic at Rock Staubus Gym. With coach Bob McIntyre substituting liberally, Rode finished with a quiet 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

The Lady Rams figure to get more strenuous competition the rest of this tournament, facing Portales (10-2) in today’s semifinals and possibly host Clovis in the finals. They beat both earlier this season in a tournament at Rio Rancho in competitive games.

Rode is averaging around 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for this year’s 8-0 squad. She is the school’s all-time leader with nearly 1,600 points and more than 200 3-pointers, and ranks second in school history in assists.

McIntyre, who has coached the program since the start, knows a big change is in store next year when Rode moves on to the University of California.

“Bri started for us as an eighth grader; I figured she’d be a good JV player for us (that year),” McIntyre said. “She tells me to this day her goal was not only to make the varsity, but to start.

A two-time 5A all-state selection, Rode says she’s ready to move on.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s going to be a change, but Cal’s an awesome program. If I do it right, I think I have an opportunity to be a leader for them.”