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Today's Sports

  • Basketball teams struggle on the...

    Before getting nearly two full weeks off for the holidays, both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Los Alamos High School each played a game on the road last weekend.

    And the results weren’t what either team was hoping for. On Friday, the boys’ team traveled to Eldorado High School, falling 92-46 to the Eagles.

    Saturday, the girls’ team traveled to Artesia High School, where the Bulldogs walked away with a 59-44 victory.

    For the boys, the game against Eldorado comes as a bit of a letdown. Thursday evening, the Hilltoppers went to St. Pius X High School and came away with a 70-56 victory. It was easily the biggest win of LAHS’ season to this point, and appeared to be the start of a positive momentum swing.

    However, those thoughts quickly faded once the game against Eldorado began. Unlike St. Pius, which struggled to knock down shots against the Hilltoppers, Eldorado came out on fire, scoring 28 points in the first quarter, and building a sizeable lead before LAHS had even gotten into the game.

    After eight minutes of play, Eldorado led the Hilltoppers 28-8.

  • LAHS picks up big win at St. Pius

    As far as wins in December go, this was about as big as they come. Thursday night, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team traveled to St. Pius X High School, and won 70-56.

    On the schedule, it will be marked down like any other game, but this was far from ordinary. Year in and year out, St. Pius is one of the top teams in the state, and this year is no exception. The Sartans entered the game 6-1, with the team’s only loss coming against Española Valley, currently ranked as the top team in the state.

    This was LAHS’ chance to prove it was among the best in the state, and the team delivered.

    From the opening tipoff, the Hilltoppers were hustling up and down the floor, and contesting everything the Sartans did on offense.

    Though he scored just 2 points in the first quarter, Ramon Roybal was the catalyst for LAHS, bringing down rebounds, running the floor and stealing passes.

    His effort led to opportunities for Antonio Trujillo, who took full advantage. He led the way with 7 points in the quarter, as LAHS jumped out to a 17-15 lead.

    Though the Sartans hit just four shots from the field in the opening quarter, the aggressiveness of LAHS led to free throw opportunities for St. Pius, and the team knocked down five of the seven to stay in the game.

  • Atomic City Update: Girls...

    I don’t think a lot of people understand how difficult it can be at times to be a student-athlete. They go to school all day, and then go to practice or a game in the evening. They don’t get weekends off like most high school students do, and the amount of responsibility they have is enormous.

    With that in mind, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the girls basketball team at Los Alamos High School, which has been going non-stop since the season began on Nov. 18.

    Between then and now, the team has played 12 games, and has not had more than three days off between games at any point yet this season. And this isn’t a team filled with experience dealing with this type of schedule. There are only three seniors on the roster. The team relies heavily on sophomores and juniors, all of whom have stepped into roles they were unfamiliar with prior to this year. 

    Sure, there have been some struggles on the team this year. But expecting consistently good play from a young group that has not had very much time to practice together since the season began is a lot to ask.

  • Shorthanded Hilltoppers drop...

    For nearly a month, it has felt like the Los Alamos High School girls basketball team has been taking one step forward, and two steps backward. Momentum gained in one game doesn’t transfer to the next game, and the team has struggled to find an offensive identity.

    Tuesday’s game against Hope Christian High School, a 65-35 loss, was the latest example.

    The Hilltoppers entered the game with a sense of confidence. Saturday, in the finale of the Joe Armijo Classic in Albuquerque, LAHS defeated district rival Albuquerque Academy 47-35 to earn seventh place at the tournament.

    It was an important win for many reasons, not the least of which was that it stopped a three game losing streak.

    It also showed that the Hilltoppers were capable of competing against a district opponent, which will become important next month.

    However, the momentum once again stalled prior to the game against Hope Christian, which took second place at the Joe Armijo Classic.

    Three important Hilltopper players were not available for the game, or even dressed out: Ashley Atencio, Susana Gallegos and Serenity Maestes. With their absences, the team would be forced to rely heavily on girls who had not played as many minutes in previous games.

  • Hockey struggles at home against...

    Playing back-to-back home games for the first time this season, the Los Alamos High School ice hockey team stumbled a bit, earning a tie and a loss against La Cueva High School.

    The weekend marks the first setbacks of the year for the Hilltoppers after a perfect 3-0 start.

    La Cueva entered the weekend with the most points in the league, earning 11 points in eight games. The Bears, which play home games indoors, are able to start the season significantly earlier than the Hilltoppers, which play in an outdoor rink.

    Besides sporting the most points in the league, La Cueva also has three of the best, and most dangerous, players in the league: Alexander Furste, Jason Knoll and Benjamin Doughty.

    Furste entered the weekend with 18 goals, while Knoll had 13 goals and Doughty had 12 goals.

    As the weekend moved along, it was clear how good all of those players were, and how difficult they were to defend.

    Furste made his presence known immediately in the first game between the two teams, as he scored two goals early in the first period, staking his team to an early 2-0 lead.

    However, much like LAHS’ home opener against Taos a week earlier, facing a two-goal deficit seemed to wake up the Hilltoppers.

  • Boys basketball earns third at...

    After playing just three games since Nov. 21, the Los Alamos High School boys basketball team kicked its season into high gear last weekend at the Belen Hub City Tournament.

    With three games in three days, the coaching staff got a good look at what this year’s team is capable of, and expectations for the season remain high after earning third place in the eight-team tournament.

    The tournament kicked off for the Hilltoppers with a game against charter school Mission, Achievement and Success Thursday afternoon. MAS, located in Albuquerque, will officially join the New Mexico Activities Association next school year in Class 2A.

    After one quarter, LAHS led 25-2, and at halftime the Hilltoppers led 42-10. The domination continued after halftime, as the team cruised to a 69-23 victory.

    That win allowed LAHS to advance to the winner’s side of the bracket, assuring at least a fourth place finish at the tournament.

    On Friday evening, the Hilltoppers took on Manzano High School.

    The game offered the greatest challenge of the young season so far, as Manzano entered the game ranked among the best teams in the state.

    The Monarchs started the game strong, jumping out to a quick 23-16 lead after the first quarter.

  • Atomic City Update: Ice rink...

    After going to a large number of sporting events since coming to Los Alamos, the prize for best atmosphere and experience so far has to go to the one I had at the home opener for the Los Alamos High School ice hockey team last weekend against Taos.

    The venue may be smaller than any other event I have been to, but the sense of community felt among the hockey fans in attendance was unmatched. A big part of it has to do with the small venue, and how close everyone is to the action.

    There are very few places to sit at the rink. The vast majority of people stand around the ice and watch right through the glass. Everyone has the opportunity to have a big collision occur right where they are standing, and there is not a bad place to watch the action.

    As the players step onto the ice, they high-fived a group of children stationed right outside the entrance gate, and the smiles on the kid’s faces was a joy to see.

    Because of the small area, there is no sense of separation that exists in other sports. The players are free to interact with spectators before taking the ice, and even in between periods.

    It really helps to make everyone feel like they are a part of the action.

    Overall, the experience felt more like a family get-together, as opposed to a normal sporting event.

  • LAHS girls basketball struggles...

    The first two games of the Joe Armijo Classic in Albuquerque didn’t go the way the Los Alamos High School girls basketball team envisioned, continuing a rough start to the year.

    The Hilltoppers dropped games Thursday and Friday against Las Cruces High School and Cleveland High School, both by large margins.

    Thursday’s game saw LAHS match up against Las Cruces, the top ranked team in Class 6A.

    Almost immediately, the game got out of hand. In the first quarter, Las Cruces jumped out to a 22-4 lead, as sophomore Becca Green was the only Hilltopper able to get into the scoring column.

    Las Cruces used the full-court press against the Hilltoppers to perfection, forcing turnovers and limiting offensive opportunities. That, combined with the team’s prowess on the offensive end of the floor, made things impossible for LAHS.

    At halftime, the Hilltoppers trailed 45-12.

    As the time clock ticked down in the second half, the deficit for LAHS widened as offense continued to be hard to come by.

    After three quarters, Las Cruces led 64-17, and the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock, which allowed the entire quarter to be played in less than 10 minutes.

    As time expired, Las Cruces walked away with a 70-26 win.

  • Young hockey team primed for...

    Prior to this season, Los Alamos High School hockey coach Kevin Brake believed this season could be a bit of a rebuilding year. The team graduated a large number of seniors after last season, and was relying on a new group of players to step in and fill big roles.

    After playing three games this season, Brake no longer believes his team is going through a rebuilding year. With a perfect 3-0 start, and 25 goals scored so far, his sights are set as high as ever. 

    “What I like is that we are getting effort from across the board, we are getting contributions across the board,” Brake said.

    One of the things that encourages him the most about this team is that the scoring has come from all over the roster, not just one of his forward lines. In fact, the scoring has been incredibly balanced. Four players lead the team with four goals scored, Benjamin Rees, John Charles, Ray Guffee and Sean Mitchell.

    Brake has no doubt his team has enough talent to compete with any team on its schedule. The question he has is whether the team will show enough composure and maturity to stay in games when things don’t look good.

    “If they are willing to outwork the other team, we can be very, very good,” Brake said.

  • LAMS wrestling has another...

    The Los Alamos Middle School Hawks wrestling team went down to Los Lunas for another Dual Tournament this past weekend, advancing to the finals before falling to Los Lunas Middle School.

    The Hawks were seeded in a pool with Valencia Middle School, and Academy Middle School. In the team’s first match against Valencia, the Hawks earned a decisive victory, by a score of 118-38.

    The Hawks went into the next match against Academy, also winners in the first round. Academy was no match against the Hawks, losing 104-6. That win moved the Los Alamos into the semi-finals against Rio Rancho. The Hawks took down Rio Rancho easily with a score of 90-21.

    That win took the team into the finals against Los Lunas. It was a tough match between the longtime rivals.

    Los Alamos was on top of Los Lunas by the end of wrestling 56-45. However, the Hawks had to give up 18 points in forfeits, costing the team first place by a score of 63-56, taking second overall.