Santa Fe thumps LA in district battle

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Girls basketball: ’Toppers manage just 12 first half points in 2-4A loss

By Mike Cote

SANTA FE – It was unknown heading into Friday’s District 2-4A girls basketball game whether the Santa Fe Demons scored a fluky win earlier in the week or if the Demons are for real.
It appears the Demons are for real.
Santa Fe has officially proclaimed itself a serious threat to the 2-4A title in the first week of district season play. After a stunning upset over the homestanding Española Valley Sundevils Tuesday, Santa Fe followed it up by pounding the Los Alamos Hilltoppers Friday night.
Santa Fe held Los Alamos to just 12 points in the first half, while freshman Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage had a coming out party despite being banged up in the second quarter. Lozada-Cabbage finished with 15 points – playing only sparingly in the second and fourth periods – as the Demons blasted the Hilltoppers 54-30 at Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium.
Los Alamos had perhaps its worst shooting night of the season, hitting just 9 of 43 attempts from the field (20.9 percent). It went on a 2-for-13 stretch to open the third quarter and managed just one field goal in the first eight-plus minutes of the contest.
The Hilltoppers were hampered by the absence of center Hayley Each, who had one of the best nights of her career Tuesday against Bernalillo. Each, however, was under the weather Friday and unavailable to play.
But the poor shooting by the Hilltoppers, combined with a dominant rebound performance from the Demons, spelled trouble from the get-go.
Not only was Each’s absence felt on the offensive end, Santa Fe feasted on quick interior passing in the first half, something that Each’s defense may have disrupted. Miriah Solano, the Demons’ talented point guard, threaded several needles into Lozada-Cabbage in the first half, who dropped in several easy buckets.
Los Alamos’ offensive woes were a bit hard to explain Friday night.
Los Alamos was able to set itself up with decent looks for most of the contest and the turnover bug, which has bitten Los Alamos repeatedly this season, didn’t show up until midway through the third quarter with the game’s outcome already determined.
Friday’s game was billed as an early district season battle for the top spot, with the Hilltoppers (10-10 overall, 1-1 in 2-4A) handily knocking off Bernalillo’s Spartans in their opener and the Demons pulling off the stunning 59-47 victory over Española Valley’s Sundevils, who had lost but one game on the season up to that point.
Los Alamos actually shot worse against Santa Fe than did the Sundevils, who went a reported 16-for-64 (25 percent).
Even with the 2-4A season just getting underway, the Demons (12-5, 2-0) have an excellent chance to finish the first half of district play undefeated with just Bernalillo, which Los Alamos topped 49-34, and mightily-struggling Capital left to play.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers still have to face their arch-rival Sundevils Wednesday night and are in danger of slipping to 1-2 and into third place.
Española Valley (18-2, 1-1) steamrolled Capital (3-13, 0-1) 68-12 Friday night.
Also for the Demons, freshman Kayla Herrera had a big second quarter, dropping all 10 of her points then, and sophomore Jackie Martinez had 11 points.
Los Alamos was paced by Erin Kirk, who dropped in nine points, seven of those in the second half, and Marissa Larribas, the lone Hilltopper to shoot at the 50 percent mark, who finished with eight points. No other Hilltopper scored more than five.