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Coming off one of its lowest offensive outputs of the season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team had its highest.
Los Alamos, which has looked tentative on offense several times this season, was in all-out attack mode Wednesday night. Its victim, Bernalillo, simply couldn’t hang with it around the basket as Los Alamos dominated Wednesday’s District 2AAAA contest, 70-21.
The game was a big turnaround from a nondistrict contest Saturday at Albuquerque Academy, in which Los Alamos managed only 29 points.
The Hilltoppers’ 70-point effort against the Spartans came without the services of starting point guard Tyree Richins.
“We had players missing, but we played as a team,” Los Alamos guard Kayci Harmon said. “We fought with what we had and we stepped it up … Everyone wanted it and we did it.”
Wednesday’s win puts Los Alamos at 2-0 in 2AAAA — it topped Taos 50-33 to open its district season — heading into a Saturday night contest with the Española Valley Sundevils, the team that poses the biggest threat to the Hilltoppers’ three straight 2AAAA championships.
For Los Alamos Wednesday, forward Taylor Ealey matched her career-high, dropping in 27 points, dominating the Spartans in and around the basket.
Ealey, who has spent much of the season playing on the wing, was one of several Hilltoppers to take the ball strong toward the basket. In the first half, the Spartans had no answer for Ealey, who did a number on them working down the baseline and getting to backside rebounds for easy putbacks.
“I saw their height,” Ealey said afterward, talking about her offensive performance. “I hadn’t played an inside game in awhile. I thought I’d go for it. I was getting tired of shooting 3s.”
While Ealey has been effective from long-range this season, she got back to what she did best, hitting 13 of 22 shots from the floor — 9 of 15 in the first half — mostly from 7 feet and in.
The Spartans, who have had a dismal season winning just two games so far, came out in attack mode and were getting to several offensive and defensive rebounds in the first quarter. The Spartans (2-15 overall, 0-2 in 2AAAA) kept the first quarter close with Brenda Montaño hitting from 18 feet out following a long rebound to make the score 8-7.
But Los Alamos would start to pull away with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter and the Spartans would seldom be heard from again.
Bryanna Richins, who hasn’t started since a Jan. 6 game at Volcano Vista, knocked in a quick bucket to answer Montaño’s bucket with 1:50 left.
But Ealey would get the rout started at the first quarter buzzer, plucking a rebound out of the air and tossing it back up for a short bucket to make the score 15-7.
Richins, for her part, had 16 points coming off the bench, doing the bulk of her damage in the second quarter as Los Alamos outscored Bernalillo 20-2.
The Spartans suffer from a total lack of height — the tallest player Bernalillo suited up Wednesday was freshman Katie Darnell who is generously listed at 5-foot-9 — and couldn’t figure out a way to slow down the 5-foot-11 Richins or the 5-foot-10 Ealey, especially with guards Jenny Tumas and Sarah Worland doing an effective job of beating the Spartans’ full court pressure.
“Our offense, we were running it so fast at Academy,” Ealey said. “(Wednesday) we slowed down.”
Bernalillo was paced by guard Alyssa McCulley, who finished with 13 points. McCulley was the only Spartan to hit more than one field goal in the contest.
For Wednesday’s game, Bernalillo managed just an 8-for-42 shooting night from the floor. Bernalillo didn’t make it to the free throw line until the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach.
The Hilltoppers held the Spartans to just two points in both the second and fourth quarters.
Worland chipped in eight points for the Hilltoppers (11-9).
Shelby Courtright had five and Harmon and Christina Radosevich each had four points.
Harmon said that while the team was upbeat about Wednesday’s victory, it will have to have an even better night when it hosts the Sundevils (12-5, 2-0 in 2AAAA) Saturday night.
“We have to get out on their shooters,” she said. “If we get past Española, we’ll be in good shape. It’ll be a battle, but it will make us feel a lot better.”
Los Alamos JV 42,
Bernalillo JV 37
The Hilltopper junior varsity held on throughout a wild fourth quarter to knock off the Spartans Wednesday night.
With Los Alamos holding slight leads throughout the final period, both teams had numerous scoring chances in the final four minutes but couldn’t take advantage of many of them. However, Los Alamos was able to connect on enough late free throws and keep Bernalillo off the offensive boards in the waning seconds to preserve the win.
Los Alamos led for most of the contest, holding leads of 8-7 after one quarter and 19-15 at the half.
Lindsay Benage and Monika Teter both finished with seven points for the Hilltoppers, who had balanced scoring throughout the contest. Kamille Chavez and Christina Radosevich both ended up with six points.
Kristen Calabaza had 11 points to pace Bernalillo.