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The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team lost its season opener, falling to the Kirtland Central Broncos Tuesday night.
The Kirtland Central Broncos outscored the Hilltoppers in all four quarters Tuesday despite several comeback attempts throughout the game. The Broncos held on for a 67-55 victory, spoiling the head coaching debut of Matt King.
Los Alamos had several chances to tie the score throughout Tuesday, cutting the lead down to just three points late in the third quarter, but couldn’t find the critical defensive stops when it needed them.
Hilltopper Thomas Russell had a game-high 28 points Tuesday to lead the team's effort, as it tried to come back from as many as 14 points down, but the Hilltoppers' team defense struggled.
Kirtland Central (1-0) went up 19-14 after one quarter and held a 34-26 edge at the break.
Following Russell, Nick Baker, the only other player on this season’s roster besides Russell who garnered any significant varsity minutes last season, finished with nine points. Newcomer Roger Gray had five points.
Los Alamos will debut at home Saturday against the Piedra Vista Panthers, a team with several key players returning this season.
The last time the Hilltoppers and Panthers met was in the first round of the 2009-10 playoffs, with the Hilltoppers earning an impressive 89-56 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.