ALBUQUERQUE – The first round of the Joe Armijo Classic was a chance for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team to get a first-hand look at the most dominant player in the state.
Los Alamos took on Los Lunas Thursday in the opening round of the tournament, hosted by the Albuquerque Academy Chargers.
Los Lunas features Teige Zeller, the 6-foot-2 center who is the best offensive player in the state, bar none.
For much of the first half, Los Alamos’ defense was up to the challenge, holding her to just four points in the first half and even getting her into foul trouble, but she dropped in 10 of her game-high 28 points in the third quarter.
Los Lunas, the defending Class 4A champ, outscored Los Alamos 23-9 in the third quarter en route to a big 70-55 win Thursday.
The Hilltoppers were able to hang well with the Tigers, who will likely be the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the state when the first rankings of the season come out, but the third quarter sunk the Hilltoppers’ chances of an upset.
“Through the first half, we played fairly well,” Los Alamos head coach Ann Stewart said. “There were some thing we could’ve done a little better. The third quarter we fell apart a little bit. That’s what killed us. We’ve got to play a full game.”