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After a rocky opening 2 minutes, 25 seconds Tuesday, Tarah Logan had seen enough and called a time-out to discuss the situation with her team.
To start the game, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team threw the ball away on six straight possessions, failing to get a shot off during that time. After the time-out, however, Los Alamos seemed to settle in and to get back to what it does best.
The Hilltoppers would outscore the Bernalillo Spartans 14-2 in the opening quarter of Tuesday’s District 2-4A opener and cruise to a 49-34 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.
“They were a little nervous for their first district game,” said Logan, Los Alamos’ head coach. “They were a little worried. For us, it’s all about confidence. One of the talking points we had coming in was about being confident.”
The Hilltoppers’ confidence was boosted by center Monika Teter, who finished the opening period with eight points of her 12 points. Teter might have had more, taking advantage of a surprisingly-light presence by the Spartans in the paint, but got into foul trouble midway through the second quarter, then wasn’t needed as much in the second half as the Hilltoppers started to pull away.
Teter’s bucket with 33 seconds left in the first gave Los Alamos a 12-2 advantage. Just seconds later, McKenzie Logan, returning to the lineup after a Jan. 6 injury, stole the ball in the Spartan backcourt and took in the length of the floor for another bucket.
After the game, Teter said the team was able, after the tough start, to settle in and play its brand of basketball.
“We knew (the Spartans) were quick,” she said. “What we wanted to do was stick together and play really tough defense. That’s what we needed to do for our first district game.”
While Los Alamos (10-9 overall, 1-0 in 2-4A) got over the .500 mark for the first time since early December, the biggest shocker of the night occurred down the road apiece. The No. 4-ranked Española Valley Sundevils were stunned by the Santa Fe Demons in their district opener, with the Demons taking a 59-47 decision. The Sundevils had lost just one game on the season going into their 2-4A opener against Santa Fe, that coming at the hands of the defending Class 5A champion, Mayfield, more than a month earlier.
The victories by the Hilltoppers and the Demons (10-5, 1-0) will set up a big early district season contest Friday night between the two teams. That game will be in Santa Fe.
Against the Spartans (9-9, 0-1), Hayley Each finished with a team-high 15 points. Each was effective from both the high and low posts Tuesday, even showing off some solid dribble-drive skills from the top of the key. Erin Kirk had seven points for Los Alamos, all in the second half.
For Bernalillo, Marissa Valencia, its shortest starter, posted a game-high 16 points. Askia McCulley had seven points off the bench. No other Spartan finished with more than four.