Girls basketball: LA travels down south to play at Pan Am Center

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By Mike Cote

With blowing snow and cold in northern New Mexico, a trip to Las Cruces for the holidays is coming at a good time for the Hilltoppers.The Hilltopper girls varsity basketball team is heading south for a three-day tournament at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. They are taking part in the Memorial Medical Center Holiday Hoop-la.The Pan American Center is the home floor of New Mexico State University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Los Alamos is hoping to play on a similar floor — the hardwood at University Arena in Albuquerque — later in the season.The tournament, which pits four New Mexico teams and four El Paso, Texas, teams, starts Thursday and continues through Saturday.This will be the second trip for the Hilltopper girls to the Hoop-la tournament, having traveled to Las Cruces this time last season.Los Alamos head coach Gerry Washburn said his team wanted to participate last season because it would get to see the likes of Class AAAA foes Deming and Silver, which were both participating. Both teams have since found other things to do.Because of that, Washburn said this year’s appearance will likely be the last for Los Alamos.The trip will hardly be wasted this season, however.“We’ll get to see a different style of play,” Washburn said.

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