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Boys basketball: Toppers drop Poe Corn final to Jags

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By Mike Cote

If the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys varsity basketball team had to lose one to the Capital Jaguars this season, Saturday was the night to do it.The night after a thrilling 63-61 win over the Roswell Coyotes, the Hilltoppers fell to their District 2AAAA rivals 52-44 in the finals of the Poe Corn Invitational Tournament.Los Alamos had several chances against Capital in Saturday’s tournament championship game, but couldn’t convert from the free throw line or on several chances from close range. Hilltopper head coach Alan Kirk said a few key conversions or a better performance than 7-for-16 from the stripe would’ve made a big difference.“We recognize that we can play better, we’ll have better results,” he said. “We can still be in a game and not play our best.”Los Alamos might have been feeling some fatigue following Friday’s win over Roswell’s Coyotes. Los Alamos trailed Roswell late, but rallied to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.With just eight seconds remaining, Nik Allen hit a layup to give the ’Toppers the lead. A 3-point shot at the buzzer by the Coyotes was off-target.Allen had an outstanding tournament for Los Alamos (10-3), scoring 17 points against Roswell, that following a 19-point performance in the tournament opener against Piedra Vista.Although he didn’t have a big offensive output against Capital, he still netted four rebounds and handed out five assists.Ben Allen had 17 to lead the Hilltoppers against the Jaguars (9-2), the only ’Topper to get into double-figures. Doug Hardy had 9 points and Alex Kirk finished with 8.Against Roswell, Kirk had 18 to lead Los Alamos, while Ben Allen finished with 10 and Martin Romero added 8 more.Pablo Martinez finished with 14 points for Capital and Dylan Chavez scored 11.Things don’t get easier for the Hilltoppers in their final games prior to the opening of the 2AAAA season. Next up for the ’Toppers is a trip to Class AAAAA Highland (5-2), a solid school with good size and athleticism. That game is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.