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  • 'Toppers to clash with Franklin Sunday

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team picked up three wins in three chances at last weekend’s Mid-Season tournament.
    Los Alamos had an unenviable schedule for two of its three games this weekend. Los Alamos had to play its first game at 6:45 a.m. and the second at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, along with having a third game Sunday.
    Nevertheless, the Hilltoppers came through with victories in all three contest, putting them at 10-1 on the season. Those three victories keeps them right on the heels of the Franklin (Texas) Cougars in the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League standings.
    In the opening game of the tournament — which was played in round robin format — Los Alamos knocked off the Coronado T-Birds 4-3. In Saturday’s late game, the Hilltoppers nipped the Durango Devils 2-1.
    In Sunday’s game, Los Alamos thumped Cibola 7-0, getting a measure of revenge after Cibola handed Los Alamos its only defeat of the year in early December.
    Currently, Los Alamos is the only team from New Mexico in the top four of the NMIIHL standings. Following Franklin and Los Alamos are Permian Basin, from Odessa, Texas, and Coronado, which is from El Paso, Texas.

  • 'Toppers hammered by Elks at Griffith

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team had a rough outing at home Tuesday night against the Pojoaque Valley Elks.
    The Elks pounded the Hilltoppers at Griffith Gymnasium, handing the Hilltoppers their second straight home loss since returning from their New Year’s tournament in Roswell.
    The Elks prevailed 67-28.
    Pojoaque Valley’s win was the10th for the club against just 4 losses. It was also the first win of the season for Pojoaque Valley over a Class 5A team.
    Los Alamos (2-11) had one of its lowest offensive outputs off the season in the loss, that coming on the heels of a reasonably good performance in a loss to Taos Saturday.
    It was also the second straight home loss by the Hilltoppers against a Class 4A club. Pojoaque Valley has won four of its last five.
    The Hilltoppers won their second game of the season in their finale of the Poe Corn Invitational over Moriarty on New Year’s Eve.
    Next up for Los Alamos is a rematch against the team it lost to in the second round of the Poe Corn, Belen. That game, which will be hosted by the Eagles, is scheduled for Saturday evening.

  • LA earns key victory over Pius

    ALBUQUERQUE — It wasn’t over until it was over.
    With under a minute and a half left in Tuesday’s contest, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team looked to have an insurmountable lead over the St. Pius X Sartans.
    But with about 20 seconds left, that lead looked quite surmountable. St. Pius chopped Los Alamos 11-point lead down to just two and forced a turnover.
    Fortunately for Los Alamos, its defense got the ball back and held on for a big 62-60 win at St. Sebastian Gymnasium.
    With time winding down in the game, the Hilltopper defense stripped St. Pius’ Kelsey Owens while she was driving down the lane before she was able to get a potential tying shot off.
    Such was the game. Los Alamos turned the ball over 24 times Tuesday, but few of those turnovers ended up hurting as the Hilltoppers were often able to get the ball right back from St. Pius, which coughed up the ball 23 times.
    Tuesday’s game was the toughest test for Los Alamos to date. St. Pius, despite having a sub-.500 record on the season, is a battle-tested Class 5A squad that was in need of a quality win over another 5A team, not to mention the longstanding rivalry between the two schools.

  • Rough 2nd quarter dooms 'Toppers

    In many games this season, the difference for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team in being soundly beaten and being competitive in ballgames has come down to a few minutes or to one quarter.
    In Saturday’s game, it was the second quarter.
    Los Alamos might have had a chance to pull out its third win of the season Saturday against the Taos Tigers, but a rough second quarter ended just about any chance it had to do that. Los Alamos was outscored 19-5 in that quarter and Taos was able to cruise to the end.
    The Hilltoppers, to their credit, didn’t go down without a fight late in the ballgame, but at that point, time was too short to make a serious charge at the Tigers. The Tigers prevailed 52-41 at Griffith Gymnasium.
    With perhaps a shot of momentum from earning its second win of the season on New Year’s Eve, it seemed Los Alamos might have a chance to keep a good thing going, particularly after the two teams played even in the first quarter.
    However, the second quarter would be about as rough as it could get on all counts for Los Alamos.

  • On Schedule 1-4-15

    Tuesday

    Boys basketball: Pojoaque Valley at Los Alamos, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.

    Girls basketball: Los Alamos at St. Pius X, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.

    Thursday

    Girls basketball: Los Alamos at Sandia Prep Invite, varsity, TBA.

    Friday

    Wrestling: Los Alamos at St. Michael’s Invite, varsity, JV, TBA.

    Girls basketball: Los Alamos at Sandia Prep Invite, varsity, TBA.

    Saturday

    Swimming and diving: Los Alamos at St. Michael’s, boys and girls varsity, 9 a.m.

    Boys basketball: Los Alamos at Belen, C team, 2 p.m.; JV, 3:30 p.m.; varsity, 5 p.m.

    Wrestling: Los Alamos at St. Michael’s Invite, varsity, JV, TBA.

    Girls basketball: Los Alamos at Sandia Prep Invite, varsity, TBA.

  • No date set for opening

    Pajarito Mountain’s base total is creeping up, but there has still been no opening date determined.
    With the winter break for school and Los Alamos National Laboratory nearly over — both resume regular operation Monday — Pajarito is hoping to salvage what’s left of the season, but conditions still aren’t quite right.
    As of Saturday morning, Pajarito was reporting a mid-mountain depth of 19 inches. The ski area was reporting that it received 3 inches on New Year’s Day and 2 inches for the previous two days.
    Pajarito officials have previously said it would take roughly 24 inches before the area could open and operate safely.
    There was a slight chance of snow showers Friday, but skies cleared Saturday and no snow was expected Sunday.
    It has been a rough couple of years for Pajarito, which was only open for a handful of days during the 2013-14 season, most of those coming during the winter break. Much of the skiing occured on the beginner’s hill.
    Those interested in keeping track of what’s happening at Pajarito can visit the area’s website, skipajarito.com. Any changes to the mountain’s status will be posted at the website.

  • 'Toppers rally, pull away late from West Las Vegas

    After sitting idle for nearly two weeks, it wasn’t surprising that the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team didn’t have its sharpest game of the season Friday night.
    Los Alamos made some turnovers and committed numerous fouls in the first half, some forced by the West Las Vegas Lady Dons, some not, that kept the Lady Dons in the game for much of the contest.
    With just a little over two minutes to go in the third quarter, the two teams were knotted at 30, but a timely 11-2 run for the remainder of the quarter gave Los Alamos the cushion it needed to finally put West Las Vegas away.
    Amber Logan and Ashlynn Trujillo had big buckets with under 1:15 left in the quarter to help Los Alamos regain the lead and, ultimately, a 53-43 victory at Griffith Gymnasium.
    Until the big run late in the third, the Hilltoppers were never able to shake West, that despite the fact West had only 4 field goals in the first half.
    What kept the Lady Dons in the contest early, despite the Hilltoppers forcing some early turnovers and converting those on the other end, was the fouling situation.

  • LA girls remain at No. 4 spot in class

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team remains in the top 4 in this week’s MaxPreps rankings.
    The new rankings, which are put out twice a week during the season, were posted on the MaxPreps website Thursday.
    Los Alamos, which has been idle since Dec. 20, is 8-1 on the season, one of just two teams in Class 5A with just one loss.
    Gallup, which is 9-1 on the year, is in the No. 1 spot, with a total rating of 24.3, well ahead of No. 2 Roswell.
    One spot ahead of Los Alamos is Española Valley. Española Valley was defeated for the third time this season Tuesday, falling big to Class 3A Laguna Acoma, a surprising defeat for the Sundevils.
    The Sundevils did bounce back in the third-place game of the St. Michael’s tournament to defeat Caprock (Amarillo, Texas), 50-36.
    When district time rolls around for Los Alamos and Española Valley toward the end of the month, those two are expected to duke it out for this year’s title.
    The next-best rated team in District 2 is Bernalillo at No. 16.
    On the boys side, Los Alamos made a slight uptick in the new poll, going from the 24th and bottom team in 5A to the No. 23 team, one slot ahead of winless Chaparral.

  • 'Toppers get back to action tonight

    After taking a holiday break, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will return to action this evening.
    Los Alamos is scheduled to take on West Las Vegas at 5 p.m. at Griffith Gymnasium. It will be the first game for the team since a big win over Artesia Dec. 20.
    The Hilltoppers (8-1) have won three straight contests since suffering their first defeat of the year Dec. 11 in the first round of the Joe Armijo Invitational, that loss coming against Los Lunas.
    Since then, the Hilltoppers won a thriller over Hope Christian, coming back from a very late 5-point deficit to win 38-37, as well as wins over Class 6A West Mesa and the Class 5A Artesia Bulldogs.
    Los Alamos pounded Artesia 64-29, giving the team its third win over a 5A opponent.
    Against Artesia, Ashlynn Trujillo led all scorers with 19 points, that despite playing with an injury on her non-shooting hand. Ashley Logan had a big showing that evening as well, dropping in 15 points.
    Prior to 2000, the Hilltoppers and the West Lady Dons were district rivals for nearly a decade.
    West (8-3), a Class 4A team, has shown some pluck recently, having won four of its last five outings. On Dec. 27, the Lady Dons thumped McCurdy 62-20.
    Also heading back to town for a game Saturday is the Hilltopper boys basketball team.

  • ’Toppers to have long day Saturday

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team will have to be early birds and night owls when it starts the Mid-Year Tournament Saturday.
    Los Alamos has a game at 6:45 a.m. Saturday, then must wait around until 10:05 p.m. before it plays again.
    The tournament begins Friday. All of the tournament games will be played at the Taos Youth and Family Center, the home ice of Los Alamos’ archrival, the Taos Ice Tigers.
    Teams from Durango, Colorado, Amarillo, Texas and Odessa, Texas, are scheduled to play on day one of the three-day tournament.
    Saturday morning, the Hilltoppers will face the Coronado T-Birds, a team from El Paso, Texas. Coronado, which was one of the top teams in the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League last year.
    So far this season, the T-Birds are 6-4-2. They’ve given up nearly as many goals this season (36) as they’ve scored (37).
    The Mid-Year Tournament is a seeded affair. Los Alamos goes in as the No. 2 seed, having compiled a record of 7-1 on the season.
    In their last action before the holiday break, the Hilltoppers won straight games against Santa Fe and Los Alamos. Those two wins came in the team’s first games of the year at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.