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Boys basketball: Topper, Sundevil fans pack Griffith

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By Mike Cote

Nearly 200 people were on-hand to purchase the hottest tickets in Los Alamos Saturday.Fans started lining up around 11 a.m. in front of Griffith Gymnasium to buy tickets to Saturday night’s Los Alamos-Española Valley boys basketball game, which was won by Española Valley.Los Alamos High School athletic director Vicki Nelms said the school had 2,000 tickets for sale. Fans were limited to purchase of 10 tickets each.Prior to Saturday, LAHS gave out special student tickets.There was an approximate 60-40 split between Española Valley fans and Los Alamos fans waiting in line as tickets went on sale. The Griffith Gym ticket booth was supposed to start selling at 2 p.m. Saturday, but because so many people were waiting, the sale started about 10 minutes early.Nelms said concessions for the game were stocked up. Athletic secretary Larisa Keeler and coach Will Stolpe made a run to the store to buy a Suburban full of extra food for Saturday’s game.While Los Alamos and Española Valley pack the seats in Griffith and Edward Medina Gymnasium — the Sundevils’ home court — more often than they don’t, fans were especially looking forward to Saturday’s game, for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that the two teams are both ranked in the top 10 in Class AAAA in this week’s New Mexico Overtime Sports Center poll — Española Valley is first, Los Alamos is seventh.Española Valley is considered among the favorites for a Class AAAA state title this season, which would be the first in school history, while Los Alamos — with 6-foot-9 center Alex Kirk and top-shelf guards Ben and Nik Allen — is sporting a team reminiscent of the 1999-2000 squad that won a state AAA championship.Extra security was on hand for Saturday night’s game because of the large crowd, but Nelms said she wasn’t expecting any problems.