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Facing his former program, Los Alamos boys basketball head coach Matt King had a pretty good idea what to expect.
The Hilltoppers were looking for a physical, pressure defense and good free throw shooting from the Volcano Vista Hawks and that’s exactly what they saw Tuesday night in a46-38 loss.
And while the Hilltoppers handled the pressure reasonably well Tuesday, the clutch foul shooting of Volcano Vista’s Mario Molina would ultimately decide the game.
Molina drained 10 of 11 chances from the stripe, including all three attempts after being fouled behind the arc midway through the third quarter. Those free throws seemed to be the spark the Class 5A Hawks needed to break open what had been up to that point a tight ballgame.
In that third quarter, the Hawks held the Hilltoppers to just four points en route to their eight-point victory, spoiling the Hilltoppers’ first home appearance in more than a month.
Not only was Volcano Vista King’s most recent stop before joining Los Alamos’ program last spring, the two teams met twice during off-season workouts in the summer and saw many of the same things he saw Tuesday.