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Boys basketball: Hilltoppers hosting Spartans

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By Mike Cote

The District 2AAAA boys basketball tournament quarterfinals will start tonight at 7 p.m. at Griffith Gymnasium.Los Alamos will play Bernalillo’s Spartans, winners of last night’s tournament first round game. Bernalillo topped Taos 82-72 to advance to tonight’s game.The Hilltoppers (17-9 overall, 5-3 in 2AAAA) have won both of their games against the Spartans this season, a 79-76 decision Feb. 6 at Bernalillo and Saturday night’s 69-51 win at Griffith Gym Saturday.Los Alamos head coach Alan Kirk said for the most part he was happy with what he saw out of his team in Saturday’s game, the finale of the regular season for Los Alamos.“I don’t think we’re going to change strategy,” Kirk said of tonight’s game. “We’re just going to have to try and prevent a third quarter slowdown.”Los Alamos moved ahead big in the first half of Saturday’s game, but scored just 11 points in the third quarter and 25 for the second half. Los Alamos substituted liberally in the second half and Bernalillo (11-15 overall, 2-7 in 2AAAA) started chipping away at the lead.Other than that, however, Los Alamos kept pretty solid control of Bernalillo throughout.“I liked our transition and I liked our defense,” he said. “We held them to one player with double-figures. Kellen Quintana is a good shooter, and we held him to four points.”Center Alex Kirk had 20 points for Los Alamos Saturday, and Ben Allen finished with 19. In all, eight Hilltoppers got into the scoring column.The winner plays at Capital Thursday in the 2AAAA semifinal game. The winner of that game plays at Española Valley Saturday.