Lady Toppers hit the road

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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team has a big game on the road Friday night, one that could impact seeding in next month’s Class 4A playoffs.

The Hilltoppers will face the St. Pius X Sartans, a former district foe, Friday in Albuquerque. The two teams are both ranked near each other in the most recent statewide computer rankings, with the Sartans sitting at No. 7 and the Hilltoppers at No. 9.

Los Alamos (9-6) will be heading into the contest on a four-game winning streak. That streak was extended last Saturday with a 50-40 victory over the Belen Eagles, a game which the Hilltoppers didn’t shoot well but grinded it out in the second half to pull away from the scrappy Eagles’ squad.

The last time the two teams met was just over a year ago, also in Albuquerque, with the Sartans grabbing a 41-32 victory.

St. Pius (6-4) is usually regarded as one of the better defensive teams in the state. This season, St. Pius hasn’t been quite as good on the defensive end, giving up around 42 points per game, but on the other end is scoring points at a healthy clip of 53.8 points per contest.

In its most recent outings, St. Pius lost a 7-point decision to fourth-ranked Roswell Jan. 4, then defeated Grants 79-56 Tuesday night.

The Sartans’ offense is paced by sophomore guard Natalie Zamora, who is averaging 14 points per game. Junior forward Caitlin Martinez is scoring 9.2 points per game.

For Los Alamos, Hayley Each continues to pace the team with her 11.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Los Alamos defeated Capital — in a game that does not count toward the District 2-4A standings — Gadsden, West Las Vegas and Belen. Only in the contest against West Las Vegas, which the Hilltoppers prevailed 48-39, was the margin of victory less than 10 points.