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LAHS picks up bounce-back win over Taos

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By Phil Scherer

Led by 20 points from sophomore guard Gavin Campos, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team got back on track Tuesday evening, defeating Taos High School 82-62.

Heading into the matchup, many questions surrounded the Hilltoppers, notably the health of two of the team’s best players.

Senior guards Antonio Trujillo and Ramon Roybal missed time over the past week with injuries, and it was uncertain whether either would be able to play against Taos.

As it turned out, both were good to go and played significant minutes, though neither started.

In their places, Campos and David Owen, a junior, entered the starting lineup at the guard positions.

Campos began scoring almost immediately, collecting 6 quick points in the first quarter, a time when the rest of the team was struggling to find an offensive rhythm.

Senior forward Troy Hammock, who has been a key offensive contributor in recent weeks, picked up 4 points in the first quarter.

Despite those contributions, the Hilltoppers trailed Taos 15-14 after the first quarter, as the Tigers knocked down three 3-pointers in the quarter.

The offensive production picked up significantly for the Hilltoppers in the second quarter, with players consistently knocking down jump shots.

After falling behind 18-14 just over a minute into the second quarter, LAHS caught fire.

Roybal came into the game and knocked down 3-pointers on three straight possessions, sending the crowd at Griffith Gymasium into a frenzy, and giving his team the lead.

Those shots seemed to jumpstart the entire team, as the defense tightened up significantly, and the confidence on the offensive end skyrocketed.

Though clearly still limited by the hand injury that had kept him out of the previous two games, Trujillo put the exclamation point on the quarter, knocking down a clutch 3-pointer with two second left on the clock.

His shot gave the Hilltoppers 24 points in the second quarter, and sent the team into the locker room for halftime with a 38-24 lead.

The strong offensive showing carried over to the third quarter, with the Hilltoppers repeatedly finding open lanes near the basket, and taking advantage.

Hammock added another 6 points in the quarter, while Brandan Duran and Campos added 5 points apiece.

The LAHS defense continued to be strong, and allowed the Hilltoppers to enter the final quarter with a 59-38 lead.

With a lead of more than 20 points, head coach Mike Kluk rested Trujillo and Roybal the majority of the final quarter, and allowed some of the younger players to get some minutes on the floor.

With the less experienced lineup in the game, the team continued to pick up points in bunches.

Senior forward Michael Naranjo led the team in the fourth quarter with 8 points, and Campos added 4 more points.

As the team watched the clock run out, the Hilltoppers walked away with an 82-62 victory.

Campos led the team with 20 points, and was one of four Hilltoppers in double digits. Naranjo added 15 points,

Hammock had 14 points and Roybal had 11 points.

LAHS hopes that the victory over Taos will provide momentum for this weekend, when the Hilltoppers will play two games at Griffith Gymnasium to finish the non-district schedule.

Artesia High School comes to Los Alamos today for a 7 p.m. game. This will be a rematch from the Roswell Poe Corn Tournament, where the Hilltoppers built a 30-15 halftime lead before falling apart in the second half, and losing 52-43 on Dec. 28.

On Saturday, Lovington High School will come to town for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff.

Lovington enters the game with an 8-8 record, and is playing much better since the beginning of 2018 with a pair of convincing victories.

Following these contests, the Hilltoppers will prepare for the beginning of District 2-5A play, which begins Wednesday evening against Del Norte High School.