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LA girls hoops face Sundevils Friday tonight

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By Jose Corral

The Los Alamos girls basketball team played a strenuous schedule during non-district play.
The difficult games didn’t end in non-district, as the Hilltoppers are set to face Española Valley at 7 p.m. tonight in Española.   
Playing some of the state’s best talent could prepare Los Alamos against the Sundevils, who were ranked No. 6 in this week’s maxprep.com’s Class 5A rankings.
The Hilltoppers, who are 5-14 overall and 0-1 in District 2-5A, will look to avoid falling behind in the District 2-5A standings with a win.
Los Alamos’ defensive effort is likely going to give the Hilltoppers the best shot of ending its losing streak to Española, a streak that dates back to the 2012-13 season. Since then, the Sundevils have defeated Los Alamos in the team’s last 10 meetings, including four close games last season. The Hilltoppers and Española have played district title games in the previous four seasons.
Los Alamos coach Josh Archuleta has mentioned his team’s defensive effort as the main area for potential success in district play. In the district opener against Del Norte, Archuleta wasn’t pleased with the Hilltoppers defensive play in the 45-29 loss. While the defense wasn’t enough against the Knights, the 29 points also won’t be enough against an Española team that’s averaging 54.7 points per game. Producing on offense has been a struggle for the Hilltoppers, who have only scored more than 40 points in five games this season.
The Sundevils have also played a difficult schedule and faced Class 6A’s No. 1 Carlsbad to start the season. Española also has losses against Eldorado and Las Cruces, and a bad loss against lowly Valencia.
The Sundevils began district play with a 38-34 loss against No. 4 Albuquerque Academy. Despite those tough tests, Española goes into tonight’s game with a 12-5 overall record and 1-1 in district.