Boys basketball: Toppers open Ben Lujan tourney against Warriors

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By Mike Cote

It won’t be home for the holidays, but the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team won’t be that far away.

The Hilltoppers open up the Ben Lujan Invitational Monday when they face the Socorro Warriors in the tournament’s first round.

This year marks the 10th annual Ben Lujan tournament, which is hosted by Pojoaque. The field this year includes four Class AAAA teams, two Class AAA teams and a pair of AA schools.

This tournament will be the second of three straight tournament appearances for Los Alamos. The last time it played was the Dec. 10-12 Joe Armijo Invitational at Albuquerque Academy.

Los Alamos has been a regular at the Ben Lujan tournament since its inception.

“It always gives us a challenge because it’s a different type of game,” Hilltopper head coach Alan Kirk said. “It’s a more run-and-gun, transition type of game. We always run into teams with good shooters. It makes us more prepared for guard-oriented offenses and defenses.”

The host Pojoaque Elks, who with the Hilltoppers will be among the favorites in the field, are on the opposite end of the eight-team bracket. The Elks (5-3) will take on Peñasco in Monday’s first round.

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