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One of the main goals set by the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team this season is to regain the District 2AAAA championship it lost to the Española Valley Sundevils in 2008.
The Hilltoppers will get that chance tonight, but they will have to head into hostile territory to do so.
Los Alamos advanced to tonight’s 2AAAA tournament championship game after soundly beating the Taos Tigers Thursday night in their semifinal contest. Los Alamos never trailed Thursday, winning convincingly at Griffith Gymnasium 75-52.
In a game which featured 57 fouls and 87 free throws, the vast majority of which occurred in the second half long after Los Alamos had seized total control of the contest, the Hilltoppers thoroughly dominated all the game’s phases.
There was no secret to what Los Alamos was hoping to accomplish heading into Thursday’s game.
“We definitely wanted to have a lot of intensity,” Los Alamos guard Sarah Worland said. “We wanted to come out strong on defense and offense and not let (the Tigers) get much breathing room. We did a good job of coming out intense and playing hard.”
That intensity was something the Hilltoppers felt just wasn’t there Tuesday night when they faced off against Española Valley’s Sundevils in a one-game playoff in Santa Fe. The Hilltoppers fell in that game 55-39 to the Sundevils, who simply outhustled them for most of the contest.
The Sundevils (23-4 overall, 8-1 in 2AAAA) limped into Tuesday’s contest with one player out and another just coming back from an ankle injury and welcomed not having to play until tonight.
Thursday, however, Los Alamos gave Taos little to work with on its offensive end and simply blew by Taos’ defense on the other. While Taos was able to get a few baskets in the second half going down the baseline, it would be far too late for the Tigers to make any kind of serious push.
The Hilltoppers (19-9, 7-2 in district) went up by as many as 15 points in the first quarter alone and had doubled-up the Tigers’ output late in the third quarter.
A trio of Hilltoppers ended up in double-figures Thursday. Los Alamos forward Taylor Ealey dropped in a game-high 17 points, 10 of those in the first half.
Forward Shelby Courtright added 13 points, while Worland finished with 12, also scoring 10 in the first half. Tyree Richins had 9 points and Kristina Radosevich finished with 6.
coming off the bench.
Courtright, who has given the Hilltoppers a huge offensive lift this season, also finished Thursday’s game with 9 rebounds.