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JACONA – What started out appearing to be its best quarter of the night turned into a struggle for the upset-minded Los Alamos Hilltoppers Monday night.
In the first round of the Ben Lujan Invitational, the Hilltoppers erased a 3-point deficit at the half against the Pojoaque Elks and went on to grab a 25-23 lead. But the Hilltoppers were held scoreless in the final 4:07 of the third quarter as the Elks took full control of the ballgame.
Pojoaque closed out the quarter on a 13-0 run. Los Alamos pushed back late to give itself a chance to tie with time winding down, but couldn’t get off many good shots in a 48-42 defeat in the first round of the Ben Lujan Invitational.
Los Alamos slipped into the consolation bracket and faced off against Peñasco today, winning that contest 54-42 and advancing to the fifth-place game Wednesday.
Monday’s game assured that there will be a new Ben Lujan Invitational champion. Los Alamos was the two-time defending champ in the tournament, knocking off Pojoaque in the title game in 2009 and Socorro in 2008.
Only two schools in the 11-year history of the tournament have won it, Los Alamos and Pojoaque.
The tournament was originally an all-girls affair but was expanded to include a boys’ bracket in 2000.
The girls’ tournament is in its 19th year.
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