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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will be back in action Friday night hosting the Piedra Vista Panthers in an important nondistrict contest.
Despite having won just twice in seven outings this season, the Hilltoppers are still looking to jockey for position in the Class 4A postseason race. Both of the Hilltoppers’ wins this year have come against 4A schools and their only loss to a 4A team was against Los Lunas, a probable top-two team in the postseason, last week at Albuquerque Academy.
However, Piedra Vista (3-3) will be in a similar boat to Los Alamos when the two teams face off at 6 p.m. Friday.
Piedra Vista is 0-2 against 4A competition this season, although in both instances those losses were against Santa Fe, another top-tier squad.
The Panthers and the Demons (9-1) squared off Monday, with the Demons crushing the Panthers 58-30 in Farmington.
In Friday’s game, Los Alamos will have to find a way to deal with Piedra Vista’s height. Piedra Vista is among the tallest teams in the state, with a pair of 6-footers, including 6-foot-2 Kaleigh Graham, and junior Sara Olsen, who is listed at 5-10.
But the Panthers’ opposition has been tough so far. Along with the losses to Santa Fe, Piedra Vista has also faced Shiprock (8-0), Cleveland and Santa Fe Indian School.
The Hilltoppers struggled to slow down Los Lunas’ Teige Zeller in their first round game of the Joe Armijo Classic Dec. 12, although Zeller was the beneficiary of at least one key no-call at the end of the first half when she was playing with three fouls.
The 6-foot-2 Zeller, quite possibly the best player in Class 4A, finished the game with 28 points, although Los Alamos was able to get to the basket on the other end against her.
Los Alamos lost to Los Lunas 70-55, then fell to Albuquerque 56-50 the following day, a game the Hilltoppers nearly won despite falling into a big hole in the first half. Los Alamos did come back in the seventh-place game to nip struggling Albuquerque Academy (0-5) by a bucket.
Following Friday’s game, the Hilltoppers will travel to Roswell to take part in the Goddard Holiday Classic starting Dec. 26. The Hilltoppers will take on Class 5A Gadsden in the opening round of the three-day tournament.