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  • LA boys basketball falls in opening round of tourney

    SANTA FE — Despite some late-season improvements, finding those elusive wins never materialized for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team.
    Los Alamos, as it has done for a good portion of the final three weeks of the season, had a solid game against a vulnerable team Monday night, the Capital Jaguars. Unfortunately for Los Alamos, it still wasn’t enough to get a win or to keep its season going.
    The Hilltoppers led by a point at the half against the Jaguars in the opening round game of the District 2-5A tournament, but couldn’t keep their momentum going in the third quarter as the Jaguars took over control of the ballgame.
    Ultimately, the Jaguars would prevail 61-48 at Edward Medina Gymnasium. They will now move on to play the Bernalillo Spartans tonight in the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
    The Hilltoppers end their season with a record of 2-25.
    Even with the improvements the Hilltoppers made down the stretch — the offense was considerably more willing to attack the basket in the latter half of the season, a big part of that improvement — there were still the lapses that haunted the team throughout, another of which occurred Monday.

  • Saunders wins his 2nd state title in overtime

    RIO RANCHO — Before 2013, it had been close to 20 years since a Los Alamos wrestler had won a state individual championship.
    Before last season, it had been close to 20 years since Los Alamos boasted a two-time champion.
    But Saturday, Lane Saunders became the second consecutive state champion for the Hilltoppers.
    Saunders capped a 1-loss junior year Saturday by knocking off the only wrester to have beaten him in 2014-15, Andres Villa of Goddard, to win a second state title.
    To say Villa and Saunders are familiar with one another is an understatement. Little either does surprises the other and on the mat they let each other know about it.
    “He shot a double-leg at me and I told him, ‘I knew you were going to do that,’” Saunders said. “Then I shot a single-leg and he said ‘I knew you were going to do that.’”
    But in the end, Saunders earned the victory, although he had to do it the hard way, taking a 1-0 triple-overtime victory over his toughest foe.
    The two wrestlers trudged through a relatively uneventful regulation time, although Villa very nearly escaped from the bottom early in the second period, which would’ve ultimately won him the bout, before Saunders dragged him back to the ground.

  • 'Toppers finish tied for 8th at state

    RIO RANCHO — The regular season didn’t end as well as the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team was hoping, but the state tournament went about as well the team could’ve hoped.
    The Hilltoppers picked up 82 points, tying their District 2-5A foe, Del Norte, for eighth place in the final Class 5A team standings Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center. Along the way, the Hilltoppers grabbed a state championship and a runner-up finish along with a sixth-place medal individually.
    Los Alamos brought 11 qualifiers with them to the state tournament, a good total despite not earning the finish it was hoping to in district the previous two weeks.
    Los Alamos certainly wasn’t going in with a lot of momentum in Friday’s first round after back-to-back lackluster performances, finishing third in the 2-5A team championships — the Hilltoppers had won three straight district team titles prior to then — and third, unofficially, in the 2-5A individual qualifier the previous week and picking up just one individual championship.
    But the Hilltoppers were able to bounce back at state and earn the finish head coach Bob Geyer was predicting at the start of the season.
    “If you had asked me a week ago what we were going to do, I would’ve said something like 15th,” Geyer said.

  • Saunders wins 2nd straight title

    RIO RANCHO - Los Alamos' Lane Saunders earned his second consecutive title by topping an old foe to take the Class 5A 182-pound bracket.

    In the third overtime period, Saunders slipped between the legs of Andres Villa of Goddard and, after a struggle, eventually freed his right arm, the only thing Villa was able to cling onto, to win the championship bout, 1-0.

    The previous year, Saunders earned a title at 171 pounds. He is the second Hilltopper in as many years to win two consecutive individual titles.

    Also Saturday, heavyweight Jonathan Schueler finished second in the 5A division, falling to Jasper Denetclaw of Miyamura. Denetclaw won with a second period pin.

    Los Alamos came away with one other medal Saturday, with John Dermer placing sixth at 220 pounds.

    More on the Hilltoppers' showing at the state tournament will be in Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Pair of 'Topper wrestlers are in finals

    Los Alamos' Lane Saunders and Jonathan Schueler are in the finals this afternoon in the Class 5A state championship wrestling tournament.

    Saunders, at 182 pounds, is the top seed in that weight class. He will take on an old foe, Andres Villa of Goddard in the championship.

    Saunders won the individual title at 171 pounds last season.

    In the heavyweight division, Schueler will meet Miyamura's Jasper Denetclaw in the championship round.

    To get to the final Schueler pulled off a huge upset over No. 1 seed Robert Gordon of Belen in the semifinal round, pinning him in 36 seconds.

    The final round will begin for classes 4A-6A at 3:30 p.m. The tournament is taking place at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

  • Moore No. 2 seed in two races today

    Los Alamos' Michael Moore finished second in the preliminary round of the state swim meet Friday and will vie for state titles in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyles today.

    Moore posted a time of 1:44.14 in the 200 preliminaries, a little less than a second behind top finisher Anthony Kim of Albuquerque Academy. In the 500, Moore (4:47.26) was about three seconds back of Jake Moffett of Sandia.

    Other top finishes Friday included Jessica Moore, who is in the finals of the 100 breaststroke - she finished with a 1:08.46 - and both the boys and girls 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, who also made today's finals.

    More information will be in Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • LA cruises to big win in finale

    The last thing the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team wanted to do was give its opponent Friday any more confidence than it already had going in.
    And with their quick start, the Hilltoppers were able to turn that confidence into doubt in a hurry.
    Los Alamos’ Makela Jones buried two long 3-pointers early in the opening quarter, helping her team get off to a quick start and, just as importantly soften up the defense of the Del Norte Knights early.
    From there, the Hilltoppers were able to go back to their bread-and-butter of pounding the ball inside. The Hilltoppers prevailed Friday night at home, 61-43.
    Los Alamos and Del Norte were squaring off for the runner-up spot in District 2-5A Friday. For Del Norte, however, the game was even more important, as if the Knights could knock off the Hilltoppers and get some help, they could tie up the Española Valley Sundevils for the regular season district championship.
    Instead, Los Alamos took Del Norte out of its game early.
    Los Alamos’ Amber Logan, who finished off a brilliant regular season with 14 points Friday, said afterward the team’s ability to find other scorers was an important ingredient to the Hilltoppers’ mix, something that had been sorely lacking a week earlier.

  • 'Topper boys drop last game to Del Norte

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team led the Del Norte Knights after one half of play, but struggled in the second half in Albuquerque Friday.
    The Hilltoppers led by a bucket at the break, but Los Alamos head coach Mike Kluk said turnovers in the second half proved to be their undoing.
    The Knights, who were in a three-way race heading into Friday’s game, pulled out a 63-40 victory. That win over Los Alamos, however, wasn’t enough to propel the Knights into the top spot as the Española Valley Sundevils topped the Bernalillo Spartans in overtime, 44-43 in Bernalillo.
    Friday loss finished off the regular season for Los Alamos (2-24 overall, 0-8 in district). Los Alamos the No. 5 seed for the district tournament and will play 7 p.m. Monday at Capital.
    The two teams were tied at 9-9 following one quarter, but Los Alamos outscored Del Norte (17-7, 6-2) 12-10 in the second quarter to take the edge into the break.
     

  • LA, Del Norte meet tonight with No. 2 spot on the line

    For the second Friday night in a row, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will have a key District 2-5A contest.
    Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, however, they won’t be playing tonight for the position they were hoping to a week ago.
    Last week, Los Alamos met Española Valley for the lead in the 2-5A race. That game, played down in the valley, didn’t go even close to the way the Hilltoppers were hoping, with the Sundevils winning handily, 60-44.
    Now, Los Alamos heads into tonight’s game, its season finale, trying to hang on to the No. 2 spot in district. Los Alamos and tonight’s opponent, Del Norte, are both tied with 5-2 district records with the runner-up spot in the district on the line.
    Had Los Alamos come away with the road win a week earlier, it would be playing for the top spot in 2-5A. Instead, Los Alamos is trying to avoid sliding into third place. The difference between a second-place finish and a third-place finish in the regular season standings will mean the difference between hosting the 2-5A semifinal game and going on the road two nights after playing in the 2-5A quarterfinal round.
    For the Hilltoppers, barring a disaster of epic proportions in the district tournament, they are a virtual lock for an at-large bid into the playoffs after posting 21 wins.

  • Round and Round

    Los Alamos senior diver Madeline Le Scouarec does a somersault during her third dive at Friday’s state preliminary round at Albuquerque Academy. She qualified for Saturday’s finals in the event.