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BERNALILLO — Brandon Saiz had been one of the best players in District 2-4A over the course of the regular season.
But Saiz, point guard of the Bernalillo Spartan basketball team, rolled his ankle last week and was unavailable for Thursday’s District 2-4A semifinal contest.
Things seemed to have stacked up about as well as they could for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, who had struggled to stop Saiz in two previous meetings between the teams. Additionally, the Hilltoppers were going into the semifinal off a big win against Española Valley.
But Bernalillo, which struggled late in the season, was still up to the task. Bernalillo’s Tristan Arnett and Trey Darnell were virtually automatic from the foul line, hitting a combined 15 of 18 in the fourth quarter as the Spartans knocked off the Hilltoppers 55-49.
It was a disappointing loss for the Hilltoppers (11-17 overall, 4-6 in 2-4A), who must now wait to learn their playoff fate.
Bernalillo did everything it needed to Thursday to claim the win. It played tough pressure defense, holding Los Alamos to just a 7-for-30 performance from the field through 2-1/2 quarters, and crushed Los Alamos on the boards.
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