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Girls basketball: LA drops ugly road game

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By Mike Cote

It’s fair to say Gerry Washburn didn’t think too highly of the performance he saw in Wednesday’s girls basketball game.“It was an ugly free throw contest interrupted by outbursts of uglier play,” said Washburn, head coach of the Los Alamos Hilltoppers.Los Alamos was held to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters of play Wednesday as the ‘Toppers fell to the Manzano Monarchs in Albuquerque, 44-35.It wasn’t the way the Hilltoppers wanted to kick off a week of three tough contests; a week highlighted by a home contest against St. Pius X Saturday.Los Alamos was held to just 13 points in the first half and 19 points through three quarters by the Monarchs, a Class AAAAA team with an unimpressive 6-8 record but one that has played a rough nondistrict slate.“We couldn’t figure out how to deal with how physical they were being with us,” Washburn said. “I’m not really sure why. We were settling for jump shots instead of pounding the ball inside and attacking the basket.”The ‘Toppers have made it a point of emphasis this season to find their big girls Taylor Ealey and Bryanna Richins in the paint, but didn’t get much happening down low against the Monarchs.Early in the game, two-guard Sarah Ethridge was making strong moves to the hoop and ended up going to the foul line several times, but beyond that very little was happening on the offensive end for the ‘Toppers (8-7).Because Los Alamos was content to shoot jumpers throughout the first three quarters and because Manzano won the rebounding battle 30-20, second-chance points were few and far between.Washburn said his team picked up its game in the fourth quarter — it trailed 32-19 going into the final period — scoring 16 points to get back into the contest. But Manzano countered with 12 points in the final quarter to seal the win.Ethridge was the lone Hilltopper in double-figures Wednesday, picking up 11 points before fouling out. April Semler and Whitney Polosky each had 11 points for the Monarchs.Along with Ethridge, Tyree Richins and Keyla Tumas also fouled out of the game.Los Alamos will face Rio Grande Friday and St. Pius the following night at Griffith Gymnasium. It opens 2AAAA play at home Tuesday against Taos.Los Alamos will head into district play as one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to take the district crown this season, but Washburn would much rather see his team play more consistently as the 2AAAA opener nears.“It’s difficult for me,” he said. “I know what they’re capable of and they’re not doing it. I don’t know if that’s me, or if we’re not putting them in the right sets.”