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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team took a big black eye in its fight to stay alive for a possible district regular season championship Friday night.
The Hilltoppers got down by as many as 12 points in the third quarter of Friday’s game at Bernalillo. The Hilltoppers made a furious comeback to open the fourth quarter and actually tied the score, but a big 7-point rally, two of those points coming on a strange technical foul call, gave Bernalillo a 50-48 upset victory.
With that loss, Los Alamos now slips to 2-3 on the District 2-4A season and 10-12 overall.
Interestingly, Los Alamos didn’t lose any ground to district leader Santa Fe, which was itself upset by Española Valley Friday night as well.
The Sundevils hit a buzzer-beating shot to stun the Demons 48-47.
Still, the Hilltoppers are two full games behind both Santa Fe and Española Valley with three games to play and must play both this week, including facing Española Valley on the road.
As has often been the case in many district games this season, one quarter all but doomed Los Alamos against Bernalillo (7-16, 2-3 in 2-4A), in this case, it was the second quarter. Los Alamos was limited to just three points in that period and trailed by 7 heading into the break.
For the Spartans, Alleah Candelaria had the hot hand from long range. Candelaria hit three of the Spartans’ four 3-pointers to finish with 21 points.
Los Alamos trailed by 10 heading into the fourth quarter, but erased that deficit in less than three minutes. Kiana Zerr’s putback with 5:18 left tied the score at 34.
But the Hilltoppers would never grab the lead, and in fact, never led in the ballgame.
The game was knotted at 38, but late in the fourth, Candelaria drilled a 3-pointer and McKenzie Logan was whistled for her fifth personal foul with the Spartans in the bonus at the time. Logan pulled her jersey out from her shorts as she went to the bench and was tagged with a technical foul for it.
Bernalillo would convert all four ensuing free throws.
Amber Logan finished with 17 points for the Hilltoppers, 10 of those coming in the final quarter. Three Hilltoppers finished with 6 points.
Had Los Alamos come back to win, it would’ve been playing for the district lead Wednesday when it hosts Santa Fe (21-2, 4-1). Instead, Los Alamos will be playing to stay alive in the 2-4A race.
Special thanks to KRSN for its help with this report