.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Girls basketball: Toppers struggle against Pojoaque

-A A +A
By Mike Cote

JACONA — Patience, as the saying goes, is a virtue.On Saturday night, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls varsity basketball team didn’t have the patience it needed on the offensive side of the ball, and Los Alamos head coach Gerry Washburn even had to struggle to keep his patience.Los Alamos played a tight, jumpy contest for the bulk of Saturday night. It settled down some after a very shaky second half, but Pojoaque maintained a nine-to-12 point lead for much of the night and rallied late in the game to win 51-33 at Ben Lujan Gymnasium.The Elks, who have already gotten some buzz as a possible contender in the Class AAA ranks, threw some defense pressure on both halves of the court at the Hilltoppers all night.But, other than a couple of early turnovers, Los Alamos seemed to do alright getting the ball to its end of the floor. Unfortunately, that’s when the trouble usually started.The first half in particular was a constant struggle.Los Alamos turned the ball over eight times in the second quarter and 14 times in the half, mostly by its own doing and not necessarily because of Pojoaque’s pressure.Only two Hilltoppers got into the scoring column in the first half. Taylor Ealey hit a pair of quick buckets to open the game, and Bryanna Richins dropped a pair of buckets in before halftime.Los Alamos fell behind by nine points in the first quarter, but held the Elks scoreless for more than six minutes in the quarter.However, because of the turnovers, Los Alamos could only trim the Elk lead to 15-10 before a bucket by Justina Rodriguez put the Elks back up by seven points.Washburn, one of the most even-keel coaches around, admitted he was getting as frustrated as his team was getting on the floor with its struggles, but said he knows with a team as young as his, there will be nights like Saturday.“Hopefully, we learned a lesson from this,” he said.Los Alamos was rushing both its shots — it was just 10 for 34 from the field — and its passes — it finished with 29 turnovers — which Washburn said his team can’t afford to do, especially not with teams of a caliber like Pojoaque or Eldorado, which Los Alamos will see in its next contest Thursday.There was some bright spots for Los Alamos Saturday. Despite the struggles on offense, Los Alamos still set itself up with some quality looks throughout, as it had in its first two wins over Academy and Del Norte.Getting those good shot opportunities to fall will be something the team plans to work on.Richins, who had height advantage over the smaller Elks (3-0), was receiving some good entrance passes and reached the foul line on six occasions. She finished with 13 points to lead the Hilltoppers (2-1).Ealey had eight points and Tyree Richins finished with five points.