Boys basketball: Toppers take on Sartans at The Pit

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By Mike Cote

It was one of the best total team efforts of the season, and it ended in a loss.That was the big story in the Jan. 15 game between the Los Alamos Hilltoppers and the St. Pius X Sartans, a nondistrict boys basketball contest played at Griffith Gymnasium.Those two teams square off again Wednesday morning, and this time the stakes are considerably higher.Los Alamos and St. Pius meet in the quarterfinals of the state Class AAAA tournament bright and early. Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 8 a.m. at University Arena (The Pit).In the first meeting between them, the score was knotted at 60 at the 2:35 mark of the fourth quarter until the Sartans, led by Chris Johansen, pulled away late. Johansen had an offensive rebound and putback with 1:40 remaining which would turn out to be huge in the endgame.“It was anybody’s ballgame until the end,” Los Alamos head coach Alan Kirk said. “We missed a couple of shots, we had a couple of turnovers. This game will be a battle. We’ll have to play very well.”St. Pius is the second seed in the AAAA tournament, while Los Alamos comes in as the seventh seed.To advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinal, the Hilltoppers knocked off the Deming Wildcats Saturday night in Deming, 63-54.

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