Toppers, Broncos to clash in big 4A contest

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Girls basketball: LA struggled with turnovers against Aztec and PV

There isn’t much going on at Los Alamos High School just a few days before Christmas.
However, anytime the Kirtland Central Broncos girls basketball team rolls into town, that’s definitely something.
The Los Alamos Hiltoppers will host the Broncos tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Broncos are, by most measurable standards, the most successful girls basketball program in state history. The Broncos own a record for both the number of state championship games won (17) and, a far more dubious honor, state championship games lost (10), the most recent of which occurred last season when they were upset by the Gallup Bengals.
Nevertheless, Kirtland Central is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A heading into tonight’s game.
Kirtland Central (6-1) has done what it does best for most of the early part of the 2011-12 season, which is thoroughly crush its opponents. Five of its six wins on the season have come by 18 points or more, although its one loss was a surprisingly lopsided one to Clovis Dec. 1.
It is unknown if Los Alamos has ever defeated Kirtland Central. It certainly hasn’t happened recently, as the Broncos have owned the Hilltoppers since the two teams joined Class 4A in 2000.
In addition to the pressure of playing the top-ranked team in 4A, the Hilltoppers will be playing against a style of basketball it traditionally hasn’t fared well against. The Broncos play a super-charged tempo which relies on transition points off turnovers.
Turnovers were a big problem for Los Alamos (5-4) in two games against Kirltand Central’s District 1-4A opponents Piedra Vista and Aztec, both of which Los Alamos hosted this weekend. Los Alamos coughed up the ball 23 times in a loss to Piedra Vista Friday night, then followed that up with 29 turnovers Saturday against Aztec.
Los Alamos might have picked up an upset win over sixth-ranked Piedra Vista had it managed to keep its turnovers under control, as its defense held Piedra Vista to just 29.5 percent shooting from the field. Aztec converted just 10 field goals in a 57-29 Hilltopper victory.
On the bright side for Los Alamos, it got three players into double figures scoring Saturday. Hayley Each had 14 points, McKenzie Logan finished with 13 and Marissa Larribas had 10 points coming off the bench against Aztec.

Tonight's game will be broadcast on KRSN AM 1490. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.