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While Los Alamos’ girls basketball team has had its ups and downs this season, the effort has been there throughout.
However, that effort was noticeably absent Tuesday night in a home game against Belen.
Los Alamos was beaten to the punch on both ends of the floor Tuesday. Belen was able to create some key turnovers and beat Los Alamos down the floor in transition to pick up a 55-45 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.
Tuesday’s game was a head-scratching effort all around, Hilltopper head coach Tarah Logan said.
“Belen played a good game,” she said. “They just outhustled us. I saw a lot of individuals busting their butts out there, but we didn’t play as a team.”
Prior to Tuesday’s loss to Belen’s Eagles (8-3), the Hilltoppers had won four of their last five contests, their lone defeat during that span was a 7-point loss to the St. Pius X Sartans, who are now tied for the top spot in the Class AAAA coaches’ poll.
Logan also said the Hilltoppers had one of their best practices of the season Monday afternoon in preparation for the game.
While everything looked to be going the Hilltoppers’ way, things just never got on track Tuesday. Odder still was that the team’s defense, which has carried it all season, was mediocre for most of the contest.
“Normally, our defense is awesome,” Logan said. “But last night, our help defense wasn’t there.”
Los Alamos played both Saturday’s St. Pius contest and Tuesday’s game without leading scorer Bryanna Richins, whom Logan thought might have had a big impact in both games.
Richins, who has been fighting sickness, may not even make it back for Friday’s game against Del Norte. Friday’s game at Del Norte is the final tune-up game of the season before District 2AAAA play starts next week.
Taylor Ealey finished with 20 points for Los Alamos (8-8).
Del Norte will likely play the same type of pressure defense that Belen put on, not to mention very probably every team in 2AAAA.
Los Alamos opens district play Jan. 20 at Taos.