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ALBUQUERQUE — There was more than one parallel between the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team’s game Monday against Kirtland Central and its game Thursday against the Academy Chargers.
Chief among those parallels, however, was the presence of a big man down low that the Hilltoppers struggled to stop.
Academy’s 6-foot-4 senior, Chris Martin, had a dominant showing in the first quarter Thursday, dropping in 10 points and doing virtually anything he wanted against the Hilltoppers.
Martin gave the Chargers a 13-point advantage after one quarter as Academy rolled to a 58-41 win.
While Martin played virtually an identical role for the Chargers that Christian Mackey did for Kirtland Central earlier in the week, that was hardly the only similarity between the two losses for the Hilltoppers.
Los Alamos (1-11), for the second straight game, had a quarter where it managed just two points. Only a field goal by William Steinkamp with 1:45 remaining in the quarter kept the Hilltoppers from being shut out in the period — it was also a bucket by Steinkamp at the buzzer of the second quarter Monday that ended up being the lone points there.
And once again, Los Alamos had its best quarter of the game in the fourth quarter which, unfortunately, occurred well after the outcome had been determined.
The Hilltoppers actually outscored the Chargers by a wide margin, 20-11 in the final quarter, with Franklin Archuleta scoring 6 of his 12 points and Nolan Fox hitting a pair of jumpers to make the final count respectable.
On both ends of the floor, Academy (4-4), which hadn’t played since its home tournament in mid-December, dominated the boards in the first half. While Martin had a big hand in that, virtually everyone on the Chargers’ roster grabbed an offensive rebound.
Thursday’s game was the second of the week for Los Alamos, which still must travel to Taos Saturday — Taos was the only team Los Alamos defeated last season.
Following that, the Hilltoppers have a very tough stretch of games, including Pojoaque Valley, Los Lunas, St. Pius X and Sandia, before the start of District 2-4A play.
After Archuleta, Skyler Veenis had 9 points in the game and Steinkamp had 8 points.
NOTES: The Hilltoppers were without head coach Fil Dominguez against Academy, who was absent due to a family medical issue … Filling in for Dominguez was longtime assistant coach Mike Kluk … Los Alamos was also without forward Sidney Ellis, who missed his second straight game … The Hilltoppers made just one 3-point shot for the second time this week, that shot made by Fox.