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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team did just enough to turn back the efforts of a motivated Albuquerque Academy squad Wednesday night.
In a game that was more nuisance than anything, the Hilltoppers held on to knock off Academy’s Chargers at Griffith Gymnasium, 41-36.
The Chargers, who have never gotten on-track this season, could’ve used a big, late season victory over a top AAAA team like the Hilltoppers. The Chargers made a push in the fourth quarter to give the Hilltoppers a run for their money, but a big late bucket by point guard Tyree Richins helped secure Wednesday’s nondistrict victory.
Wednesday’s game was rescheduled from earlier this month after poor weather washed it out.
“We gave just enough energy to pull it out,” Los Alamos head coach Tarah Logan said.
The game for the Hilltoppers (17-8) came on the heels of perhaps their most emotional win of the season, Tuesday night against the Española Valley Sundevils.
The 52-48 victory gave Los Alamos a piece of the district lead. It can force a one-game playoff between the two teams with a victory over Capital Friday.
While Capital (10-11 overall, 3-4 in 2AAAA) didn’t give Los Alamos much trouble in the teams’ first meeting at Griffith Gym, Los Alamos (6-1 in 2AAAAA) lost to Capital in Santa Fe last season, a game which injured Los Alamos’ chances for a district regular season title.
“Capital’s a must-win,” Logan said. “They are one of those teams that can upset just about anybody at home....We didn’t talk about it much (Wednesday), but that’s going to be the discussion today.”
Wednesday’s win was Los Alamos 15th of the season over a Class AAAA opponent against 4 losses.
Hilltopper forward Taylor Ealey finished with 19 points against the Chargers (6-19), hitting 4 of 5 free throw attempts. Ealey and Richins combined to score all 18 of Los Alamos’ first quarter points.
Los Alamos led 32-23 after three quarters, but Academy made a fourth quarter push to get back into the ballgame.
Richins had 11 points including that key bucket in the final quarter.