Boys basketball: Toppers knock off Spartans to open 2AAAA

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By Mike Cote

The funny thing about district play is that struggling teams can turn their fortunes around pretty quickly.
The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team took the first step to doing just that Wednesday night and has a chance to take a giant leap this weekend.
In their District 2AAAA opener Wednesday night, the Hilltoppers upended the Bernalillo Spartans. The Hilltoppers’ stout defense held the Spartans to just five points in the pivotal third quarter as they came away with a 57-44 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.
It was the best team performance of the season put forth by Los Alamos (5-14 overall, 1-0 in 2AAAA), which desperately needed a big showing. Heading into the contest, Los Alamos had been held to 29 points or less in three consecutive outings.
But Los Alamos got a huge night from its top offensive threat, guard Thomas Russell, who missed out on Saturday’s nondistrict game against Sandia with a foot injury. Russell finished with a game-high 20 points, going 10-for-12 in the fourth quarter from the free throw line to help seal the victory.
The Hilltoppers also got good offensive production from guard Nick Baker and forward Bobby Sanders, who combined for 21 points. Sanders also had a big night on the glass, pulling down seven rebounds.
Sanders said the team was geared up for a big night going in.

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