Late-game bucket drops Hilltoppers

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Boys basketball: LA can’t hang on to late lead in district-opening contest

By Mike Cote

BERNALILLO – It was a wild finish in Wednesday night’s District 2-4A opener between the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team and the Bernalillo Spartans.
With under a minute remaining and the Hilltoppers clinging to a two-point lead, Bernalillo’s Brandon Saiz made what would be the play of the game, scoring on a lightning-quick inbound play and converting an old-fashioned 3-point play. Los Alamos would have a couple of chances late, but couldn’t take advantage as the Spartans picked up a 51-48 win over the Hilltoppers.
The contest was the District 2-4A opener for both teams.
Los Alamos, which has had several games come right down to the wire recently, looked to have the game well in control with under six minutes remaining, but the Spartans’ late push was the difference.
“I honestly believe we’re two injuries away from having two extra wins,” Los Alamos head coach Fil Dominguez said of the late-game dramas in which the Hilltoppers have been involved. “Thomas Russell went down against Volcano Vista and Nick Baker got a cut over his eye at the end of the St. Pius game. Both those games might have come out differently.”
It was a similar scenario Wednesday. The Hilltoppers’ defense carried the team throughout the contest, but the offense remained spotty.

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