Boys basketball: Toppers fall in 2AAAA title game

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By Mike Cote

ESPAÑOLA – The packed house at Edward Medina Gymnasium was entirely on its feet for the final minutes of the District 2AAAA boys basketball championship game.

An estimated crowd of 3,700 watched the Española Valley Sundevils and Los Alamos Hilltoppers sweat it out through a contentious final quarter.

With the Sundevils clinging to a 1-point lead late, Española Valley head coach Richard Martinez elected to run a 3-man weave throughout the final five minutes of the ballgame.

The head-scratching tactic, which Martinez employed in odd spots throughout Friday night’s game, worked well enough for the Sundevils to escape with a 56-49 win over the Hilltoppers and their third-straight District 2AAAA championship.

“I think we were trying to be patient and put pressure on them,” Hilltopper head coach Alan Kirk said of Española Valley’s late game attempt to kill the clock. “I felt if we had opportunities in that fourth quarter, they’d come if we kept the game close. We did, but we just couldn’t get over that hump.”

It was a contentious fourth quarter Friday night, to say the least, with nine fouls whistled and 17 trips made to the free throw line.

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