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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will have its biggest contest of the nondistrict season tonight.
The Hilltoppers will take on the St. Pius X Sartans, currently the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A, at Griffith Gymnasium.
The Sartans (8-1) are among the tallest teams in the state with five players listed at or near 5-foot-11, which has created match-up problems for many of the teams they’ve faced.
And the Sartans have been hard to stop this season on the offensive end. The Sartans are averaging a very healthy 66.4 points per game, placing them among the top offenses in the state.
The Hilltoppers will have to find a way to both slow down the powerful St. Pius offense, which has put up 80 or more points three times this season, including its last time out against Grants, topping the Pirates 80-61 in Grants.
The Sartans’ only loss this season came against Clovis’ Wildcats at a tournament the Wildcats were hosting — Clovis is the No. 1-ranked team in all of New Mexico, while St. Pius is right behind in all classifications.
The challenge for Los Alamos (6-7) tonight is a big one.
Despite losing on the road to Belen its last time out Tuesday night, Los Alamos should go in with a measure of confidence. Los Alamos had won five of its previous six games before the loss to a solid Eagles’ team.
Additionally, the Hilltopper defense, which will need to come up big tonight, has had some of its best showings of late. The defense has held opponents to 50 points or less seven times in eight games.
This week, Los Alamos is rated as the No. 13 team in 4A, slipping one spot after its loss to Belen.
St. Pius, meanwhile, is one slot ahead of Santa Fe (10-1), Los Alamos’ district opponent, and two slots ahead of Valencia, handing the Jaguars their only loss of the season so far.
’Topper boys hosting Los Lunas
The Hilltopper girls aren’t the only team facing a highly-rated squad at home this weekend.
Los Alamos’ boys (1-13) will take on the Los Lunas Tigers Saturday evening at Griffith Gymnasium.
Los Lunas is currently the No. 2 team in 4A. That ranking will likely drop by the time when the newest rankings come out early next week after the Tigers (7-4) dropped a 66-59 decision at Albuquerque Academy Thursday night.
Despite that loss, the Tigers still have wins over Class 5A Eldorado and Alamogordo under their belts.
To stick with the Tigers, the Hilltoppers will have to find the offense that has been lacking this season. The Hilltoppers finished with a season-low 25 points against Pojoaque Valley Tuesday night, connecting on just one field goal in the second half.
Tuesday’s game was the first for interim head coach Mike Kluk, who took over for Fil Dominguez Monday.