• 'Toppers earn two wins on home ice

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team picked up two wins in its first two home games of the season last weekend.
    Los Alamos, the last New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey team to open its home schedule — it has to wait for the ice to be ready at the county’s ice rink — started off the home season well. It topped Santa Fe 6-4 Friday night to debut at home, then earned a 4-2 victory over its archrival, Taos, Sunday morning.
    With those two victories, the Hilltoppers improved to 7-1 on the season. Immediately prior to their two wins last weekend, the Hilltoppers lost to the Cibola Cougars, their only loss to date.
    Los Alamos will be off until after the new year. Only a handful of games are scheduled for this weekend, all of them in Texas. Amarillo will play Odessa Saturday and the La Cueva Bears, the only New Mexico team involved, will play both of those teams in Amarillo.
    The Hiltoppers are second in overall team standings following the two wins.
    They trail only the undefeated Franklin (Texas) Cougars, who are idle this weekend as well.
    Odessa’s Permian Basin is third in the league standings at 6-3.

  • Hipwoods honored with proclamation at meeting

    Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood have their day today in Los Alamos County.
    The Hipwoods, two of the most successful coaches in the history of New Mexico prep sports, were given a proclamation Tuesday night at the Los Alamos County Council meeting. Councilor David Izraelevitz awarded the proclamation, which announced that today was “Rob and Kathy Hipwood Day” in the county.
    The proclamation recognized the duo as being named the top coaches in the country earlier this year. In June, the Hipwoods earned the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Coaches of the Year honor in the sport of cross country.
    Los Alamos’ girls program, as it often has, followed that honor up for the Hipwoods by winning the 2014 state championship in Class 5A.
    It was the sixth consecutive team title for the Hilltopper girls and the 12th girls team title under the Hipwoods’ tutelage.
    As an added bonus, Los Alamos’ boys earned their third consecutive title last month as well.

  • LA comes back to stun Hope in 4th Q

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team earned an improbable come-from-behind win in the fifth-place game of this weekend’s Joe Armijo Invitational tournament.
    With 12.6 seconds remaining in the game, the Hilltoppers trailed the Hope Christian Huskies 37-33, but the Hilltoppers scored five points in that time to earn the victory and the fifth-place finish.
    Los Alamos point guard Amber Logan hit a long 3-pointer with under five seconds remaining. Then the Hilltoppers forced a turnover on the ensuing throw-in which bounced to reserve guard Elena Abeyta right under the basket. Abeyta hit a layup at the buzzer to give Los Alamos a wild 38-37 win at Albuquerque Academy.
    The crazy end to Saturday’s game gave Los Alamos a 2-1 finish at the tournament and two straight victories after losing for the first time of the season in the first round to Los Lunas.
    Los Alamos lost in the opening round of Academy’s home tournament Thursday in overtime to the Los Lunas Tigers, but came back nicely Friday, downing the Class 6A West Mesa Mustangs, 61-51.
    Los Lunas’ Tigers ended up finishing second at the tournament. After a dominating defensive performance Frday in a 34-19 win over Academy, the Tigers (4-1) lost to Mayfield, last year’s big-school runner-up, 54-32.

  • Saunders is top wrestler at Capital

    Lane Saunders had another big outing for the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team his second week out Saturday.
    Saunders, wrestling at 182 pounds, not only grabbed the 182-pound title at Saturday’s Capital Jaguar Invitational, he was also named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for the upper-weight classes.
    The Outstanding Wrestler title is one awarded by a vote of the head coaches of participating teams.
    His showing was the highlight of the day for Los Alamos at the Jaguar invitational, which is hosted by the Hilltoppers’ District 2-5A rival.
    Los Alamos nipped the favored Capital team for the district title last season and early projections suggest that they may go head-to-head for that title once again.
    However, the HIlltoppers were too short-handed to make a run at a team title at Capital. The Jaguars, who have many top wrestlers returning from last season’s team, won the tournament title, topping two other solid Class 5A schools, Valencia and Los Lunas.
    In all, 11 teams took part in the tournament.
    Hilltopper head coach Bob Geyer said he’s known his program will be something of a project until district time.

  • Pregame Pep Talk

    Former Los Alamos High School teacher and Hilltopper superfan Gary Houfek chats with the members of the Los Alamos hockey team prior to the team’s game with the Santa Fe Blue Jackets Friday night. That game was the first of the season for the Hilltoppers at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.

  • 'Toppers earn win at home

    It was a good night on the ice for the Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team as it opened its home schedule with a victory.
    Los Alamos, which plays in the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, a high-school level league, had its season opener Friday night when it faced off against the Santa Fe Blue Jackets.
    Because the Hilltoppers play on an outdoor rink, as opposed to the rest of the league’s teams, which have indoor ice, they are the last team to get a home game.
    But the Hilltoppers made the most of it Friday.
    Los Alamos, which had won five consecutive games to start the season before a loss last Saturday to Cibola, grabbed a solid 6-4 victory over the Blue Jackets (3-9).
    The Hilltoppers controlled the contest early, going up 3-0 and holding that advantage through a period and a half, but the Blue Jackets scored at about the halfway point of the second period to tighten up the game.
    But Los Alamos responded in a big way, scoring two goals in quick succession just minutes after the Santa Fe goal to blow the game open.
    Today, Los Alamos will host its archrival, Taos, at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink. Game time is set for 11 a.m.
    The Hilltoppers defeated Taos’ Ice Tigers 2-1 in the first game of the season Nov. 8. That game was played in Taos.

  • LA boys knock off T-Wolves

    It took some time, but the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team finally got over the hump.
    Los Alamos earned its first win of the season Friday in the consolation round of the Sandia Prep Invitational tournament. Los Alamos tripped up East Mountain High School, a relatively new Class 4A team from the foothills of the Sandias.
    With that win, the Hilltoppers advanced to play in the fifth-place game of the Sandia Prep tournament Saturday. Results of that game hadn’t been reported as of press time.
    Los Alamos has struggled throughout the early part of the 2014-15 season, dropping five straight before Friday’s win.
    The 46 points scored by Los Alamos was its best offensive output of the season. Going into the game, the Hilltoppers had been held to 32 points or less in each of their previous three contests, including a 54-31 loss in the opening round of the tournament to Las Vegas Robertson, which itself won for the first time with Thursday’s victory.
    East Mountain (2-6) had a chance to tie the game and force overtime Friday, but the Timberwolves’ last second 3-pointer clanged off the back of the iron.
    Friday’s victory was just the third going back to last season and the second for the team under head coach Mike Kluk.

  • LA boys fall in first round to Robertson

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team had turnover trouble in the opening round of the Sandia Prep Invitational tournament Thursday afternoon.
    The Hilltoppers were looking for their first win of the season against a team that was also seeking its first win, the Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals.
    But the Cardinals came out the victor Thursday in Albuquerque. The Cardinals outscored the Hilltoppers 22-9 in the first quarter and never looked back, winning 54-31.
    Los Alamos has struggled early on in the season to find its footing on the offensive end. Los Alamos has only managed to score 40 points once this season and has been held to the low-30s in scoring each of the last three games.
    Hilltopper head coach Mike Kluk said his team had some chances but were not connecting with its shots, then struggled holding on to the ball.
    “I could tell in warm-ups that they were not ready,” Kluk said of the contest. “After halftime the offense performed better and the defense was a bit more intense. We played them even in the second half.”
    The Hilltoppers fell behind big by the break, trailing 39-17. The Hilltopper defense was much better in the third quarter, limiting Robertson (1-4) to just five points. Unfortunately for Los Alamos, it only managed four points in that frame.

  • 'Toppers lose for first time this year

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Joe Armijo Invitational.
    Los Alamos went up by as many as 10 points in the first half and had chances late in its contest against the Los Lunas Tigers, but the Tigers prevailed in overtime.
    Los Lunas’ Jordan Holland drove down the middle of the lane with one second remaining in overtime to give the Tigers a 61-59 victory Thursday at Albuquerque Academy.
    Just prior to Holland’s bucket, the Hilltoppers had possession, but turned the ball over before getting a shot off.
    It was a disappointing loss for the Hilltoppers, who slipped to 5-1 on the year, after beating a pair of Class 5A opponents just heading into the Los Lunas contest.
    With the loss, Los Alamos goes into the consolation bracket of the tournament. It was scheduled to face West Mesa today — the Class 6A Mustangs (1-4) lost in the opening round to Academy’s Chargers, 44-33.
    Los Alamos and Los Lunas have seen each other several times in the recent past and Los Lunas has generally had Los Alamos’ number.
    Thursday, the Hilltoppers were paced by Amber Logan. Logan, who had a monster game against Hope Christian, was again effective from the outside Thursday.

  • 'Topper hockey will host Santa Fe in home opener

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team ended its unbeaten streak just ahead of this weekend’s home opener.
    Los Alamos will finally get its home season going Friday when it takes on the Santa Fe Blue Jackets. Los Alamos, which plays at the county’s outdoor arena, must wait for conditions to be suitable for playing before it can get its season going and, as such, is almost invariably the last team to get its home schedule started.
    Friday’s game is set for 8 p.m.
    Prior to the game, however, there will be a ceremony honoring former Hilltopper head coach Craig Wermer. Wermer was a longtime coach of the team before this season, when he was replaced by his former assistant, Kevin Brake.
    Wermer coached current Hilltopper seniors Hudson Davenhall, Jason Martinez and Trevor Matuszak, throughout the prep careers until this season.
    The Hilltoppers were originally supposed to play three games this weekend at home to get their schedule rolling, but Saturday’s game, against Rio Rancho, was postponed due to standardized testing. That game has tentatively been rescheduled for February.
    Sunday, Los Alamos will host archrival Taos. Game time is 11 a.m.