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Boys basketball: LA falls on the road to Del Norte

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team dropped its second straight road contest Friday night in Albuquerque.

Los Alamos, which went into Friday’s game short-handed, couldn’t hold on to a four-point lead after three quarters. Del Norte, led by Henry McKinley’s 11 points in the final quarter, pulled off the 61-57 come-from-behind win.

While the Knights got off to a slow start this season, Los Alamos, which had four varsity regulars out for the contest, had no intention of looking past them.

“We knew they were up-and-comers,” Los Alamos head coach Alan Kirk said. “With us being short-handed, we knew it would be a tough game.”

McKinley finished with 23 points in the contest, second only to Alex Kirk’s 39 points. McKinley hit 5 free throws in the final quarter as the Knights outscored the Hilltoppers 20-12.

Los Alamos (12-5) will head into its District 2AAAA opener Wednesday at Taos having lost two of its last three. It fell to Volcano Vista Jan. 5, also in Albuquerque.

Coach Kirk said the game wasn’t lost in the final quarter, however. His team had a chance to put Del Norte in a deep hole early but misfired on six makeable layup chances. A 12-for-19 performance at the foul line Friday night didn’t help, either.

Los Alamos led 17-10 after one quarter, but Del Norte (3-11) slowly chipped away at that lead throughout the next two frames.

Alex Kirk, Los Alamos’ Division-I bound center, grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with his big point total. Kirk finished with a career-high 44 points Tuesday night in Los Alamos’ win at home against St. Pius X.

Zach Parks finished with 8 points and 11 assists against Del Norte, while Kirk Webber grabbed 5 rebounds and Brandon Owens earned 3 assists.

“It was an extremely physical game,” coach Kirk said. “There was a lot of contact every time we shot the ball. We didn’t do as well as we normally do with our rebounding and free throw shooting. We missed some scorers that we normally count on.”