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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team picked up a win in the final contest of its three-day stay at the Roswell-Goddard Classic.
Following a pair of losses to open up the tournament, to Carlsbad and Goddard, Los Alamos bounced back to knock off the Gadsden Panthers 53-45 Wednesday.
As it did in its tournament opener against Carlsbad, Los Alamos struggled through the early part of the game. After being outscored 12-3 in the first quarter, Los Alamos got on track and dropped in 23 points in the second quarter to grab the lead going into the break.
A lot of good things happened for the Hilltoppers (3-8) in the second quarter, something head coach Tarah Logan was thrilled to see.
“We are not a naturally aggressive team. We have some girls that throw themselves around, but we usually don’t do that for four steady quarters,” Logan said.
But Los Alamos came out as the aggressor on both ends of the court in the second quarter and carried that momentum through the rest of the game.
Los Alamos was sparked in the quarter by Kamille Chavez, whose assist on a Monika Teter bucket seemed to crank up the intensity.
Also in Roswell Wednesday, the Hilltopper boys basketball team picked up a lopsided win over the Belen Eagles, 54-18, in the second round of the Poe Corn Invitational. They were scheduled to play Del Norte this morning, but results from that game were unavailable as of press time.
For the Hilltopper girls, Tina Radosevich was named to the All-Tournament squad. Radosevich improved her stat line throughout the course of the tournament, pumping in 16 points, collecting nine rebounds, six steals and five assists against the Panthers (4-8).
Logan said that while she was relieved to pick up a win, she saw that the Hilltoppers are still going to have to work on their problems with turnovers. The team is averaging about 22 turnovers a game, many of them coming against full court pressure.
In the team’s tournament opener against Class 5A Carlsbad, Los Alamos struggled against the Carlsbad pressure and was outscored 20-3 in the second quarter. That, along with Taylor Edmondson’s 20 points, did the Hilltoppers in.
Against co-host Goddard Tuesday, Los Alamos led most of the way, but some costly turnovers in the second half, along with a head-scratching officiating call in the fourth quarter on which Teter fouled out — the foul was initially given to a Goddard player with Teter’s same jersey number, but later charged to Teter without explanation — took the wind out of Los Alamos’ sails.
“It was really difficult,” Logan said. “I don’t like to say officials’ calls changed the tempo of the game, but that was pretty hard.”
But Los Alamos put together its most complete game of the tournament against Gadsden. Chavez had 12 points, while Teter and McKenzie Logan both finished with nine points.
Los Alamos 54, Belen 18
The Belen Eagles aren’t exactly fattening up their offensive statistics playing the Los Alamos Hilltoppers.
Earlier this month, the Eagles were held to just 29 points by the Hilltopper defense, while the Hilltoppers picked up their first win of the season.
Wednesday, in the consolation round of the Poe Corn Invitational in Roswell, Los Alamos gave Belen nary a sniff at the basket. On the other end, Thomas Russell, Roger Gray and Nick Baker had solid offensive nights to lead the team to a decisive victory.
“On defense, we’re getting more and more consistent,” Los Alamos head coach Matt King said. “We’ve got good people and games like this happen when other teams can’t score.”
The win was the third in four games for the Hilltoppers (4-9), who wrapped up their third and final tournament appearance this month with Del Norte, another Class 4A team.
Los Alamos’ defense has been solid through most of the season. King said the challenge is to make sure the offense holds up its end of the bargain.
“If we can be together offensively, develop offensively to score on a consistent basis, we can play with anyone,” he said.