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ALBUQUERUQE Just when it looked like there was an upset in the making, the St. Pius X Sartans were at their best.
St. Pius scored 10 unanswered points to close out the Class AAAA state quarterfinal game Wednesday morning, topping the Los Alamos Hilltoppers 57-50.
Los Alamos led nearly the entire first three quarters for the game before St. Pius John Ramirez hit a 3-pointer with just 17 seconds left in the third quarter to tie the score at 36.
In the final quarter, Michael Helland hit a short jumper with 2:29 remaining, giving the Hilltoppers a 50-47 lead, but St. Pius 6-foot-4 forward Chris Johansen, who finished with a game-high 21 points, drove down the baseline against Topper center Alex Kirk for a hard-earned bucket, giving the Sartans a 51-50 lead which they would never relinquish.
Hilltopper point guard Nik Allen, playing in his final game for the Hilltoppers, finished with 12 points, as did Kirk. Ben Allen, also wrapping up his career, had 11. Kirk had 10 rebounds and Ben Allen grabbed four.
Los Alamos led by as many as nine points with 4:15 left in the first half, but St. Pius came back to pare the lead down to 20-17 by the break.