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Now it counts.
Tonight the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls varsity basketball team will host the Taos Tigers in the District 2AAAA opener for both teams.
This is the favorite time of year for basketball fans around the state, as most prep hoops teams get their respective districts started this week.
The players are psyched, too.
"It all starts when district starts," Los Alamos two-guard Sarah Ethridge said.
The Hilltoppers head into 2AAAA play as the favorites to pick up their third straight district championship.
Los Alamos has shown flashes of brilliance in its nondistrict schedule, which concluded Saturday in a 51-45 loss to St. Pius X. Other times, it has shown a lack of experience stemming from a team that had only three players with meaningful varsity playing time coming into the 2007-2008 season.
But the Hilltoppers have advantages in size and athleticism which should serve them well in making their run to a district title.
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