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Prep boys hoops: LA opens Poe Corn tourney tonight

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By Jose Corral

The Los Alamos boys basketball team will get another opportunity to make a name for itself in Class 5A.
The Hilltoppers open the Poe Corn Invitational against Belen at 6 p.m. tonight in Roswell.
“That’s a good 5A tournament,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “If we can come out of there with a couple of wins, that’ll help our confidence. It’s a big tournament for us. We can gain some respect or we can lose some respect.”
Los Alamos (4-4) is riding a two-game losing streak, while Belen is 8-1 and has won its last five. Tonight’s matchup will be one of the Hilltoppers toughest tasks this season, as the Eagles have impressive wins against Alamogordo and Roswell and won its hosted Hub City Tournament. Los Alamos also participated in the Hub City Tournament and placed in seventh.
Belen’s quick start has placed the Eagles on the list of Class 5A contenders, while Los Alamos got off to a 3-0 start but a couple of setbacks against St. Pius and Eldorado have ensured that the Hilltoppers need a good showing in Roswell to be considered a legitimate contender.
Los Alamos and Belen have played each other the last seven seasons with the Eagles holding a 4-3 edge during that span.
The regular season tournament, which includes only Class 5A schools, is considered one of state’s most competitive. Seven of the eight participants will go into the tournament with at least a .500 record.
Farmington, which is 8-1 and Roswell (7-3), along with Belen, will likely be the three favorites.
Other tournament matchups include Roswell vs. Bloomfield, Goddard vs. Aztec and Artesia vs. Farmington.