.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Boys basketball: LA rolls to win over Piedra Vista

-A A +A
By Mike Cote

In the first round of Roswell’s Poe Corn Invitational, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers stole one. Or, to be more precise, they stole 18.Los Alamos stole the ball 18 times from the Piedra Vista Panthers Thursday night en route to a solid 74-58 win at Roswell High School.Nik and Ben Allen were credited with nine steals between them Thursday against the Panthers, while Doug Hardy had three steals and Jack Russell had two more as the ’Toppers cruised to victory.Los Alamos head coach Alan Kirk said Piedra Vista wanted to push the ball inside on offense, but the ’Topper defense clamped down inside very well, cutting off Piedra Vista’s interior passing, leading to the steals.Piedra Vista turned the ball over a grand total of 22 times Thursday, and further hurt its cause by shooting a paltry 8-for19 from the free throw line. Los Alamos had 15 turnovers, four of those coming after the game was well in-hand, and hit 11 of 15 attempts from the foul line.“Overall, we did well,” Kirk said. “The steals were the big issue. We were able to get back on defense and steal the ball.”Los Alamos moves on in the winner’s bracket with a game against co-host Roswell tonight. That game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.Nik Allen, who has been red-hot in virtually all facets of his game for three weeks, finished with a game-high 19 points and grabbed five rebounds. He led four Hilltoppers in double-figures Thursday.Ben Allen chipped in 16 points, Alex Kirk added 15 and Alan Trujillo had 12.Kyler Garrison, who scored 26 on Los Alamos in the teams’ previous meeting Dec. 7, had 16 Thursday night. Andre Romero finished with 14 and Michael Suarez had 10 for the Panthers (4-7).Alex Kirk added 13 rebounds — 7 offensive — and four blocks. Nik Allen had five assists and Alan Trujillo earned three more assists.Capital and Goddard also advanced in the tournament and will face off tonight for the right to go to the championship game.“I think everyone played well,” coach Kirk said. “Everyone pitched in,” he said, adding that Martin Romero had a strong defensive game, disrupting Garrison and creating confusion in the middle of the Panther offense.Thursday’s win was the seventh in the last eight games for the ’Toppers (9-2).