Boys basketball: LA comes up just short in OT battle

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Late free throws by Demons' Echave sinks 'Toppers at Griffith, 56-55

By Mike Cote

Thomas Russell’s steal late in the second overtime period might have been the play of the game.
Thomas Russell’s right leg, however, decided to give up on him at the most inopportune moment.
With the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team leading by one point with under a minute to play in the second overtime period, Russell stepped in front of a Santa Fe Demon pass about 12 feet from the timeline. Russell had a lane to the basket for, at worst, a trip to the foul line, but got a cramp in his right leg just as he started his shooting cycle.
Instead of a probable game-sealing layup, however, Russell fell to the floor, slid over the end line and took the ball with him.
That play, with 32.5 seconds remaining, gave the Demons, who just seconds before looked finished, new life.
On the ensuing possession, Santa Fe’s star center Orlando Echave was fouled away from the basket, sank both free throw chances, and gave the Demons a 56-55 double-OT District 2AAAA road win.
Unfortunately for Los Alamos (6-18 overall, 2-3 in 2AAAA), cramping was an issue throughout the second half, stalling the Hilltoppers on several big occasions.

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