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Today's Sports

  • LAHS drops two weekend games

    Playing games on back-to-back days isn’t easy for a basketball team under any circumstances. Doing it without the team’s best player makes it even more challenging.

    This was the situation facing the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team last weekend, as it lost at home to Belen High School, and on the road to Santa Fe High School without the services of senior guard Antonio Trujillo.

    Trujillo, who has averaged more than 13 points per game this season, was on the bench with an injury in both games.
    The impact of him being out of the lineup was noticed immediately at the start of Friday’s game against Belen, as the Eagles jumped on top of the Hilltoppers 13-8 in the first quarter, and LAHS connected on just three shots. Two of those three shots were 3-pointers from Michael Naranjo and Ivan Balakirev, two of the team’s big men.

    Getting the ball to the big men continued to be the theme for the Hilltoppers in the second quarter, as all 10 points the team scored in the quarter came from Balakirev, Naranjo and Troy Hammock, another of the team’s inside presences.

    Heading into halftime, LAHS trailed 28-18. None of the Hilltopper guards scored in the first half, as Balakirev led the way with 7 points, Hammock had 6 points and Naranjo added 5 points.

  • Balanced scoring proving to be...

    Finding balanced scoring across a roster is what almost every basketball coach in the country is searching for.

    By splitting the scoring evenly, it makes it hard for defenses because they are unable to key in one or two players and slow down the entire offense.

    As the season moves along, it appears that coach Mike Kluk and the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team are finding scoring all across the roster, and it’s beginning to pay dividends.

    The team is nearing the halfway point of its season, and currently has five players averaging more than 7 points per game.

    Leading the way for the Hilltoppers is Antonio Trujillo, who is averaging 13 points per game. He started out the season as the offensive leader of the team, scoring 19 or more points in four of LAHS’ first seven games.

    In recent weeks, his production has slowed, and has allowed other players to step up in his place.

    One of the key contributors in recent games has been Troy Hammock, who was the offensive leader for the team in the Roswell Poe Corn Tournament, and continued that this week against Pojoaque High School.

    In the Roswell tournament, he scored 15 points against Artesia, 10 points against Farmington and 18 points against Gallup. He followed that up with a 12-point performance against Pojoaque.

  • Atomic City Update: NMSU proves...

    As I watched college football bowl games over the past few weeks, there were plenty of exciting stories and unbelievable performances.

    However, the best story of them all came from our home state, and proved that in sports, anything really is possible.

    For the first time in 57 years, the New Mexico State University football team won a bowl game. It’s a sight that many people thought was impossible. For years, the program has been stuck in neutral, unable to recruit players with much talent and forced to use outdated facilities on a daily basis.

    After winning no more than four games since 2004, the team rebounded this year with six wins, earning a bowl bid against Utah State in the Arizona Bowl.

    And despite trailing 20-13 late in the game, the Aggies rallied to tie the score, and won 26-20 in overtime.

    Obviously, this is a big moment for NMSU and all of its loyal supporters, but I think it also reminds all of us that with patience and a good game plan, any program can be turned around.

    Becoming complacent with mediocre play is something seen far too often in sports. The examples are endless. In the NFL, the Cleveland Browns are in a constant rebuild, and have been for nearly two decades.

  • LAHS boys basketball dominates...

    The Los Alamos High School boys basketball team returned home Tuesday evening, defeating Pojoaque Valley High School 65-32.

    This was just the team’s second home game of the season, with the first coming on Dec. 1 against St. Michael’s High School. Tuesday’s game marks the end of a tough start to the season for the Hilltoppers, in which the team played 10 of its first 11 games on the road.

    “There was a little more pep in their step in warm-ups tonight,” LAHS head coach Mike Kluk said. “I think they like playing for the home crowds, and I think we shoot a little better here from the outside, so I’m hoping that plays to our favor.”

    The boost of playing in front of the home crowd seemed to help the Hilltoppers early, as the team played aggressive defensively, and knocked down some key shots.

    One of the big moments of the game came early on, when senior guard Ramon Roybal knocked down a deep 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to give the Hilltoppers a 14-9 lead.

    LAHS seemed to use that shot to build momentum heading into the second quarter, as the Hilltoppers jumped all over Pojoaque on both ends of the floor. LAHS held Pojoaque scoreless over the first five minutes of the quarter, building a sizable lead.

  • Boys basketball struggles at...

    After taking nearly two weeks off for the holiday break, the Los Alamos High School boys basketball team got back to action last weekend in the Roswell Poe Corn tournament, finishing in sixth out of eight teams competing.

    The tournament appeared to be starting on a high note for the Hilltoppers, as LAHS jumped out to an early lead on Artesia High School in the first round matchup. In fact, the Hilltoppers led by 10 in the first quarter, led by 6 quick points from Troy Hammock.

    The strong play continued into the second quarter, as the LAHS offense continued to be productive, and the defense stood strong. At halftime, the Hilltoppers led 30-15.

    Everything changed for LAHS after halftime, however. Artesia began slowly chipping away at the lead, and took control. The Hilltoppers scored just 8 points in the quarter, compared to 25 for Artesia. The uptick in offense allowed Artesia to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter 40-38.

    LAHS was never able to get its offense going down the stretch, and scored just 5 points in the final quarter. Artesia remained in control throughout, and defeated the Hilltoppers 52-43.

    Hammock finished with 15 points, while Michael Naranjo scored 9 and Antonio Trujillo added 8.

  • 2017 proves to be successful for...

    Of all the programs at Los Alamos High School, few were more successful in 2017 than the cross country program, which again was a factor in the state championship race, and had a number of standout individual performers.

    On the boys’ side, no one was more impressive than freshman Rafael Sanchez, who finished in fifth place at the state championship meet, and also competed in the Nike Cross Regionals race. His time of 15:49 made him the 14th fastest freshman in nation.

    For the girls, freshman Lidia Appell and eighth-grader Norissa Valdez were the key standouts, finishing in fifth and eighth place, respectively, at the state competition.

    Overall, the girls finished as the state runner-ups, and the boys finished in third place.

    For the girls, it was the 28th straight podium finish, while for the boys it was the 21st straight podium finish.

    The future appears bright for both programs, with the boys and girls returning their top runners next season, and for many seasons to come.

    There is no doubt expectations will remain high for LAHS cross country in 2018 and the years to come.
     

  • Atomic City Update: A look back...

    As I look back on the past few months in sports at Los Alamos High School, I’m reminded of how many great memories the athletes have provided to the community since the school year began in August.

    I arrived in Los Alamos right after the sports calendar ended for the 2016-17 school year, but I have had the pleasure of following the fall and winter sports since the 2017-18 school year began a few months ago. I have been with the teams through some incredibly high highs, and I have been there to see seasons end on a sour note.  

    As 2017 draws to a close, I’d like to take a look back on some of the best moments for the LAHS sports teams since this school year began. And don’t worry spring athletes.

    I promise there will be another one of these coming when the school year ends in May.

    5. Hockey completes impressive comeback in home opener

    Sure, it’s hard for a game at the beginning of the season to match the intensity of a game with playoff implications on the line.

    But this was the first time local fans had the opportunity to watch the LAHS hockey team this season, and the show was impressive.

    Down 3-1 late in the second period, the Hilltoppers rattled off six straight goals to seize control of the contest against Taos High School and win 7-4.

  • Purgatory now offers night skiing

    Officials at Purgatory Resort announced it will begin offering night skiing for the first time in more than 15 years. 

    Purgatory will operate the Graduate Lift 7 in the Columbine area from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays.  Night skiing hours begin at 4 p.m. in the Columbine area and will be offered every day until Purgatory’s sister resort, Hesperus Ski Area, has sufficient snow to open and offer night skiing.

    The trails “Ski Way” and “Graduate,” which are currently open during the day, will be available for skiing after the sun goes down.  Crews are currently working to open additional trails and lifts in the Columbine area.

    Purgatory’s mountain crews have been working around the clock making snow, pushing it out, and grooming the slopes to provide skiers and snowboarders with a great early season skiing experience.  Crews have opened more terrain and more lifts since the resort first opened for the season on Nov. 18.

  • UNM men’s basketball rebounds...

    Senior Joe Furstinger recorded his first career double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) and four other Lobos scored in double digits to lead The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team past Rice 78-69 in Dreamstyle Arena - The Pit on Tuesday night.

    Furstinger, in his first game of the season off the bench, set career-highs in points and rebounds, breaking his previous bests of 11 in each.

    His double-double was the first in points and rebounds for the Lobos since senior Sam Logwood recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds last season on Feb. 25 against Wyoming, making it the first for UNM this season.

    Tuesday night also marked the third time this season that the Lobos had five players score in double digits. Furstinger led the way with his 17, followed by Logwood (15), juniors Troy Simons (15), Chris McNeal (13) and Dane Kuiper (10). Kuiper also posted a game-high six assists for a new career high.

    “I think we all wanted a huge, blowout win - or whatever that may be - to say that we’re back and all that, but it’s Division I basketball and you have to earn the right to win,” head coach Paul Weir said. “I feel like we are earning the right to win, these guys work really hard.

  • Hockey falls flat in final games...

    Playing four games in two days is a daunting task for any team, and it proved to be more than the Los Alamos High School ice hockey team could handle.

    The team entered its final stretch before an extended holiday break with a record of 3-1-1.

    After the difficult weekend, the Hilltoppers now hold a record of 4-4-1 that will carry over into the New Year.

    The weekend began with a trip to Durango, Colorado, Saturday afternoon for a pair of games. The first one began at 1:30 p.m., and the second began at 5:30 p.m.

    LAHS began the weekend strong, with a hard-fought 2-0 victory.

    The first two periods were full of penalties, with Los Alamos taking three, and Durango taking two.

    Neither offense was able to convert, however, as the goaltenders stood strong.

    In goal for the Hilltoppers was Sam Fisher, who made 27 saves and earned the shutout.

    Midway through the third period on the power play, Carson Schramm got the Hilltoppers on the board, with what proved to be the game-winning goal.

    To add a bit more breathing room into the game for LAHS, Jared Carnes scored his fourth goal of the season with under a minute remaining to complete the 2-0 win.