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LA falls in district semifinal round

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By Mike Cote

ESPAÑOLA — If Thursday night’s District 2-4A girls basketball game had a theme song, it would’ve been “Stuck In the Middle With You.”
For the bulk of the final three quarters, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team’s ballhandlers were stuck trying to get through double-teams near the timeline as a result of a trapping press by the Española Valley Sundevils.
Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers didn’t respond well, turning the ball over 19 times after the first quarter, many of those turning into points on the other end for the Sundevils.
Española Valley, the No. 2 seed, won the 2-4A tournament semifinal contest 51-34 and now advance to play the Santa Fe Demons Saturday night for the district crown.
Los Alamos’ loss knocks it out of the district tournament. It must now wait until Sunday to see where it will land in the upcoming Class 4A playoffs.
The loss was a disappointing one for the Hilltoppers (16-12 overall, 6-4 in 2-4A), not only after defeating the Sundevils in their previous meeting Feb. 16 but after winning five of six games to close out the season heading in.
Española Valley, which has been known for most of the program’s existence for tough full-court pressure, used that pressure to good effect in the final three quarters.