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Ann Stewart is interim no more.
Los Alamos High School announced Monday it has hired Stewart as its regular girls basketball head coach, a position Stewart adopted during the middle of the 2012-13 season.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise that Stewart was selected after the position was opened up following the conclusion of the girls basketball season.
Stewart was brought in to replace Tarah Logan in mid-January after her abrupt resignation. At approximately the same time, two members of the Hilltopper roster, both starters, left the team.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity,” Stewart said. “I hope we can build a tradition, something the kids can be excited about and the commuity can get behind.”
Despite the whirlwind surrounding the team when Stewart was named interim coach, the Hilltoppers rebounded under Stewart to finish third in a very tough District 2-4A race and earn a postseason at-large bid. The Hilltoppers then traveled to Deming for the first round of the postseason and upset the Deming Wildcats 62-45.
That win put Los Alamos in the quarterfinal round and gave the team its first trip to The Pit in Albuquerque in three years. In that round, Los Alamos would fall 57-44 to Los Lunas’ Tigers, the tournament’s top seed, who would go on to win the 4A championship.
The Hilltoppers ended the season with a mark of 17-13. They were 9-7 when Stewart took over and went 8-6 the rest of the way, including posting a 5-3 mark in 2-4A play.
Stewart said she’s trying to coordinate the team’s summer plans. The Hilltoppers will attend a camp in conjunction with the North/South All-Star Game in early June and she’ll schedule some open gym workouts once the spring sports season gets finished — Stewart is also the boys golf coach at LAHS — but said the summer workout schedule is still up in the air right now.
In 2013-14, Los Alamos is slated to have as many as six seniors returning to the squad, including forward Kiana Zerr, who blossomed during district play and became one of the team’s leading scorers and rebounders in the second half of the season.
“I’m just thinking about what we’ve got to do for next year,” Stewart said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to build on what we did and keep a good thing going.”
Prior to taking over the Hilltoppers’ program, Stewart served as the head coach at Bloomfield and had been an assistant at Class 5A schools Eldorado, Cibola and Alamogordo.