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Girls basketball: LA drops Holiday Classic opener to Roswell, 42-29

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By The Staff

Once again, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team’s defense came up big in a big game.

Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers’ offense again couldn’t match the performance on the other end of the floor Monday night in Roswell.

In the first round of the Goddard Holiday Classic Monday night, Los Alamos held the No. 2-ranked Roswell Coyotes to just 27 points through three quarters of play, but managed just 23 points during that same time span. The Coyotes rallied in the fourth quarter to pick up a 42-29 victory.

Los Alamos shot just 25 percent from the field Monday night against Roswell, the second top-two opponent it has faced in as many games. Los Alamos lost to top-ranked Kirtland Central 54-39 a week earlier, holding the powerful Broncos’ offense to just four points in the third quarter.

The Hilltoppers (4-6) played the host Goddard Rockets at 3 p.m. today – results weren’t available at press time – and will finish off the three-day tournament with an 11 a.m. meeting Wednesday against Ruidoso.

The Holiday Classic was originally supposed to be a standard 8-team bracket, but Kirtland Central and Capital both dropped out of the bracket just a few days ago. Capital is a District 2AAAA rival of Los Alamos.

Hilltopper head coach Tarah Logan said the defense played well on the perimeter Monday. The Coyotes, who love to shoot from the outside, were held to just 3 3-pointers in the game by the Hilltopper defense.

Los Alamos went to a 1-2-2 zone which befuddled the Coyotes for several minutes in the second half.  Unfortunately, Los Alamos couldn’t take advantage, scoring just 12 points after the break.

Roswell was held to just nine points in each of the first three quarters. It held an 18-17 lead at the half.

Meanwhile, the Hilltopper offense had a season-low 10 turnovers in the game, but had another slow shooting night, connecting on just 10 of 40 attempts from the field (25 percent).

“For some reason, we couldn’t get that spark going,” Logan said. “We kept looking for a hot shooter and just never found one. Taylor (Ealey) had 15 points, but she never got hot.”

Los Alamos didn’t hit a 3-pointer in the game. It went 9-for-13 from the foul line.

Ealey’s 15 points led the game. Shelby Courtright had five points Monday and the newly-promoted Chase Ealey finished with four.

For Roswell (5-4), Desirae Allen had nine points and Marika Trujillo finished with eight.

Today’s opponent, Goddard, has struggled mightily this season, losing all eight of its games this season.

“We need to find a rhythm starting in the first quarter,” Logan said. “We need to take it to them the whole game and not just in the third quarter.”