LA girls to take on Artesia in Vaughn

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What a long, strange trip it’s going to be.

The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will hit the road Saturday for a long trek to a small town. Los Alamos will meet the Artesia Bulldogs Saturday afternoon in Vaughn.

This game with Artesia, which is in the southeastern part of the state, came about due to a game cancelation earlier this season.

Los Alamos (11-14) was originally slated to play the Albuquerque Academy Chargers in late December. That game was postponed to January, however, due to weather conditions.

Prior to their meeting, however, the Charger athletic department asked to bow out of that game as Academy had a cluster of games that particular week and didn’t want to try to squeeze in the Los Alamos contest. Los Alamos, meanwhile, didn’t have many other open spots on its schedule.

Hilltopper athletic director Vicki Nelms said she searched for a replacement game for late in the year — the girls didn’t want to sit idle for a week or more awaiting the District 2-4A tournament — and the only taker was Artesia.

The two schools decided to compromise and meet each other halfway to play Saturday’s contest. That approximate halfway point between the two schools is Vaughn.

Artesia (14-11) will play Roswell in its District 3 finale Friday night before heading to Vaughn.

Currently, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 13 in Class 4A according to MaxPreps.com, while Los Alamos is ranked No. 15.

Last time out, Los Alamos defeated Capital 75-40 to finish off its District 2-4A season. Barring a fairly major upset tonight by Bernalillo over Española Valley, Los Alamos will finish in third place in the 2-4A race.

But, as it stands, the Hilltoppers are hardly a lock for an at-large bid in the 4A postseason, but they could build their case up for inclusion with a win over Artesia.

The Hilltoppers and Bulldogs only have a handful of common opponents on the season, but the two teams had similar results. Both teams lost to Belen and Roswell and both teams beat Academy.