LA blasted in first round of Armijo tourney

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — If the first round of the Joe Armijo Classic is any indication of how the rest of the tournament will go for Los Alamos’ boys basketball team, it’s going to be a rough trip.
The Hilltoppers were roughed up by the Albuquerque High Bulldogs Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the tournament, hosted by Albuquerque Academy.
Los Alamos managed just single-digit offensive outputs in three of the four quarters and couldn’t do much to stop the transition game of the Bulldogs, who dominated the contest and won going away, 71-37.
Los Alamos turned over the ball 12 times in the middle quarters and almost all of those turnovers were cashed in on the other end by Albuquerque.
Gabe Bump, a sophomore guard for the Bulldogs, cherry-picked his way to 10 steals in Thursday’s game. Bump read Los Alamos’ passing like an open book, stepping directly in front of passing lanes in the backcourt.
He finished with a game-high 21 points.
Bump set the tone early on, scoring 8 points in the first quarter and assisting Albuquerque big man Jared Blea on another fast break chance.
The only quarter Los Alamos could get much going on offense was the first. Hilltopper wing Skyler Veenis had 10 of his team-high 14 points in the first quarter, hitting on 4 of 5 chances from the floor.
But Los Alamos, who was without center William Steinkamp Thursday, managed just three buckets in the second quarter, while the Bulldogs went on a crushing 12-4 run over 5-plus minutes.
That run, keyed by Bump and Albuquerque’s top scorer this season, Naz Gonzales, was one the Hilltoppers would never recover from.
Los Alamos trailed by 18 at the half, then managed just 17 points for the balance of the game.
Blea had 18 points for the Bulldogs (2-2), who advanced to play Hope Christian — a 74-63 winner over Las Cruces Thursday — in the second round of the tournament. Gonzales added 17 points.
Franklin Archuleta added 7 points for the Hilltoppers, who slipped to 0-5 and have to face Las Cruces late tonight. No other Hilltopper finished with more than 4 points.