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Boys basketball: LA picks up third straight road win

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By Mike Cote

Right now, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys varsity basketball team is journeying down a long and winding road.And in the middle of a six-week long road trip, which is taking them to far-flung regions around the state, the Hilltoppers are keeping up nicely.Wednesday’s jaunt took Los Alamos to Belen, where it downed the host Eagles 67-54, putting it at 3-1 on its current road trip.Los Alamos’ guard Nik Allen dropped in 20 points Wednesday night, and Ben Allen chipped in 10 more to help the team to victory. In all, eight Hilltoppers scored against the Eagles.Nik Allen had his best game of the season so far, flirting with a triple-double against Belen. Along with his 20 points, Allen grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists.Los Alamos played an effective inside-outside game Wednesday against Belen (X-X), which double-teamed 6-foot-9-inch post Alex Kirk much of the night. Nik Allen buried three 3-pointers and Ben Allen added another pair of 3s to counter Belen’s pressure down low.“It was a wide open, spread game,” Hilltopper head coach Alan Kirk. “They tried to do a half-court trap…Things flowed. We moved the ball, we got some good shots and we made the shots.”The Hilltoppers (5-1) jumped out to a 15-7 first quarter lead, then scored 24 points in the second quarter, taking a 15-point lead into the locker room at the half.Doug Hardy, who had a strong game off the bench Saturday against Farmington, had another solid game Wednesday, scoring nine points for Los Alamos.Alex Kirk finished with seven points after dealing both with the Belen double-team and some foul trouble. Martin Romero also had seven points coming off the bench.Alan Trujillo had six points Wednesday night, and Mike Matteson and Chris Hejde both finished with four.Defensively, Kirk said the Allens and Hardy provided good pressure against the Eagles’ guards, resulting in 10 team steals, most of which were converted into points on the other end.While there’s still plenty to work on, Kirk said his team is starting to put it all together.“I was really pleased with the effort,” he said. “The defensive effort was great. We’re going to create a lot of match-up trouble for other teams. They’ve got to pick their poison.”