Girls basketball: Hilltoppers get ousted by Panthers

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By Mike Cote

At the time it might have seemed like a pull of the slot machine, but the Piedra Vista Panthers hit the jackpot.At the half, Piedra Vista Panther head coach Lee Marett decided to pack the paint on defense, even though the Los Alamos Hilltoppers seemed to have a good thing going from the outside in the first half.But the gamble worked big. Piedra Vista held Los Alamos to just four field goals in the second half of Friday’s Class AAAA state tournament game.With just 16 seconds remaining, Panther forward Gaila Brooks hit a layup to give her team a first round upset of the Hilltoppers, 45-43 at Griffith Gymnasium.The 12th-seeded Panthers advance to the state quarterfinals Tuesday, while they fifth-seeded Hilltoppers ended their season earlier than expected.Following the game, ’Topper senior captain Sarah Ethridge pounded the Griffith Gym floor with her fist, agonizing over a game which appeared to be well in-hand at the break.“I told Ethi she did everything she could out there,” Hilltopper head coach Gerry Washburn said.

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