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Heading into next week’s District 2-4A tournament, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team’s playoff fate is still very much up in the air.
The Hilltoppers made their best case Tuesday night, however, thumping the Capital Jaguars at home in their final regular season contest.
Los Alamos held Capital to just two points in the first quarter and nine points in the first half as it rolled to a 51-25 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.
The win put the Hilltoppers at 3-5 in District 2-4A play (12-14 overall) and might have helped it secure an at-large bid for the upcoming state playoffs. But even with the win, the Hilltoppers are hardly a lock to get in into the 16-team field.
Assuming there are no major surprises later this week or in the upcoming district tournaments — the six winners of which are guaranteed a playoff bid along with the regular season district race winners — it would appear there will be no more than three spots for “bubble” teams, a category that the Hilltoppers fall squarely into, along with teams such as Albuquerque Academy, Del Norte and Los Lunas.
Of the five or six bubble teams seeking an at-large bid, Los Alamos holds the tiebreaker over Albuquerque Academy in District 5 and currently holds the tiebreaker over 2-4A foe Bernalillo.
The tiebreaker could become moot, however, if Bernalillo pulls off an upset against Española Valley Friday night. Bernalillo shocked co-district leader Santa Fe 51-42 Tuesday night, but still has just three wins on the 2-4A season — the Spartans were themselves victimized, falling to Capital 42-40 Saturday.
Against Capital (4-21, 1-6), Los Alamos got 13 points from three different players, including senior Monika Teter, who was honored along with fellow seniors Marissa Higdon and Christine Larribas prior to the game.
Also dropping in 13 points for the Hilltoppers were Hayley Each and Erin Kirk.
Each had seven points in the first quarter and Kirk had eight points in the first half as the Hilltoppers jumped out to a 25-9 lead at the half.
The Jaguars, who with several veteran players on the team, including Stephanie Oellien and Alyssa Garcia, have been among the biggest disappointments in Class 4A this season.
Garcia finished with 10 points, most of them coming in garbage time, to lead the Jaguars, while Ashley Sorenson added six points.
The Jaguars had just three field goals in the first half and none in the first quarter.
Los Alamos will have at least one more home game, that coming in next week’s 2-4A tournament. Los Alamos will host either Capital or Bernalillo, depending partially on the outcome of Bernalillo’s game with Española Valley (23-3, 6-1).