Girls basketball: Hilltoppers keep Scorpions winless

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By Mike Cote

In the 2006-07 season, Los Alamos girls basketball team got to see the Espaola Valley Sundevils on several occasions.

The Sundevils finished the season without a win, something that surprised Hilltopper head coach Gerry Washburn, who said of the Sundevils they were tougher than most wouldve anticipated.

On Friday, the Hilltoppers got to see a team that might be in that same boat: the Farmington Scorpions. The Scorpions brought an 0-14 record into Griffith Gymnasium, but hung tough with the Hilltoppers throughout the early stages of the game.

However, a strong night by Hilltopper guards Tyree Richins and Sarah Ethridge would prove to be too much for the Scorpions. The Hilltoppers prevailed 49-31.

Richins, Los Alamos point guard, finished the game with 11 points. She got the Los Alamos offense going first with some long-range shots to loosen up a pretty good Farmington 1-3-1 defense, then started penetrating in the second half, making some good moves in the lane to create opportunities.

In Los Alamos loss to St. Michaels Wednesday, a game in which the team struggled for most of the first three periods, one of the offensive bright spots was Richins doing much the same thing from the point.

I figure if Im aggressive, it will help my team be aggressive, Richins said after Fridays game. Coach has been telling me to penetrate, but Im usually the one deciding when to do it. When I think we need to be more aggressive, I start driving to the basket.

Meanwhile, Ethridge, Los Alamos two-guard, had a big defensive night, recording two blocked shots and six steals, three of which she took the length of the floor for buckets on the other end.

Ethridge led all scorers with 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the floor. She had 8 of her points in the second half and her transition buckets started to break the game open for the Hilltoppers.

As with Richins, the Hilltoppers have looked to Ethridge to help generate points.

Weve asked Sarah Ethridge to be more aggressive and shes done that, Washburn said. Ethi did a great job (Friday).

RaQuitta Martinez finished with 10 points to lead Farmington.

Martinez had 6 points in the first half and snuck through the Hilltopper defense on several occasions, including twice when the Hilltoppers were putting full-court pressure on - something that barely fazed the Scorpions for most of the game.

Farmingtons struggles would be in finishing Friday. Along with four blown layups in the first quarter alone, the Scorpions would misfire on 20 of 25 shots from the floor in the opening half, although they were getting some decent looks.

Those good looks would dry up in the second half, however, with Los Alamos stepping up its defensive effort, led by Ethridge and its bench players.

The Hilltopper bench has performed well in the last several games. Keyla Tumas and Sarah Worland, both of whom had solid games against St. Mikes, turned in some quality minutes Friday, as did Shelby Courtright and Kate Rooney coming off the bench.

Also on Friday, post Bryanna Richins had 12 points for Los Alamos (8-6).

Los Alamos is still hoping to find some more consistency, but with a team largely learning as it goes, Washburn said things are still generally moving in the right direction.

Right now, were trying to find our identity, Washburn said. Ive said were always having sequences of storming, forming and norming. Were somewhere between storming and forming right now...and thats exactly where we should be.