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The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team once again struggled to find offense Monday afternoon and was again handed another one-sided loss.
Los Alamos was held to just two points in the second quarter Monday at Griffth Gymnasium and only 11 points in the first half against the Kirtland Central Broncos.
Meanwhile, the Broncos used an effective inside-outside game to take control of the contest early and cruised to a 58-32 victory.
It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Hilltoppers (1-10), who were hoping to build some momentum heading into a very difficult stretch of upcoming games right before the start of the District 2-4A season.
Unfortunately for them, Kirtland Central (8-3) had other plans, and those plans included a big performance from its star center Christian Mackey.
Mackey, a multi-tool player despite a big 6-foot-5 frame, dominated underneath the basket on both ends of the floor. He dropped in a game-high 15 points, including connecting on three straight buckets in the third quarter to quash any lingering hopes the Hilltoppers had of getting back into the game.
On the defensive end, Mackey blocked two shots down low early that gave the Los Alamos offense pause anytime it got the ball in the lane.
Mackey, who hit 7 of 10 from the floor, did pick up a couple of fouls in the first half and actually sat down for big chunks of the second and third quarters. However, Los Alamos’ offense wasn’t able to take advantage of his absence.
Except for a couple of short spurts, one by Franklin Archuleta to open the game and another by Skyler Veenis to start the third quarter, Los Alamos rarely looked comfortable in its half-court set.
Kirtland Central switched up from a man-to-man look to start the game to some routine zone look in the second quarter, but the change seemed to bother Los Alamos. Los Alamos would turn the ball over six times in the second quarter and scored its only points on a putback from William Steinkamp at the buzzer.
Veenis, Los Alamos’ leading scorer last season, struggled to find his range in the first half but connected on three straight jumpers to open the second half.
He finished with 10 points, the only Hilltopper in double-figures. Archuleta had 9 points and Elliott Clay had 5.
Following Mackey, Kirtland Central’s speedy guard Reese Foutz had 12 points, many of those coming on fast break chances.
Monday’s game was a make-up for a game that was postponed twice in late November.
Thursday, Los Alamos will travel to Albuquerque Academy, then follow that up with a trip to Taos Saturday to take on the Tigers, the only team Los Alamos defeated during the 2012-13 season.
Following this week, the Hilltoppers have dates with Pojoaque Valley, St. Pius X and Sandia before opening district play against Bernalillo Jan. 22. The Hilltoppers’ lone victory of the season came against Bernalillo in the final round of the Joe Armijo Classic in mid-December.
Prior to Monday’s loss, the Hilltoppers dropped three straight games at the Poe Corn Invitational in Roswell. Roswell’s Coyotes blasted the Hilltoppers 97-27 in the opening round, then the Hilltoppers were nipped by the Piedra Vista Panthers 57-54 in a consolation round game the following day before dropping the seventh-place contest to Belen, 57-46.