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One of the recurring themes of the 2012-13 season for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team has been that it has been sunk in many losses by one bad quarter.
Tuesday was no exception.
The Hilltoppers turned the ball over 10 times in a row to start the second quarter and officially got off just one field goal attempt – a 3-pointer by Simon Heath at the buzzer – against the St. Pius X Sartans.
Los Alamos played fairly even with St. Pius, the No. 3-ranked team in the state, for most of the rest of the contest, but fell big at Griffith Gymnasium, 64-39.
The game started off well for the Hilltoppers (1-16). They fell into a quick 7-point hole to start the game, but the defense stiffened, slowing down the Sartans who slashed their way to the basket almost at will early.
Los Alamos actually had a chance to tie the contest up with a 3-pointer late, but went into the second quarter trailing just 11-8.
Then, the wheels came off.
The Hilltoppers coughed up the ball 12 times in the second quarter, leading to 13 St. Pius transition points.
The Sartans (9-3) outscored the Hilltoppers 20-7 in the quarter to take a commanding lead into the locker room.
St. Pius star forward Nic Stafford dropped in 27 points in the contest, 12 in the first half, although his stats were padded considerably with 10 points in garbage time – despite owning an insurmountable lead throughout the second half, Stafford played the entire 32 minutes and most of the Sartan starters were on the floor until very late in the fourth quarter.
Micah Sanchez of St. Pius hit three 3-pointers Tuesday and finished with 13 points.
For Los Alamos, both Heath and Skyler Veenis finished with 12 points. No other Hilltopper had more than six.