ALBUQUERQUE – As upset-minded as the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team might have been heading into Friday night’s game, the St. Pius X Sartans were not to be denied.
The Sartans methodically drove to the basket and pounded the ball in down low to take control of Friday’s Class 4A state championship first round game early. The Hilltoppers took the air out of the ball in the second quarter to try to keep the contest close, but the second half was all St. Pius.
St. Pius’ defense and rebounding closed the door on any hopes the Hilltoppers might have had of knocking off the Sartans and advancing in the state tournament in the third quarter. St. Pius dominated the boards on both ends, putting in several second chances in the third quarter en route to a 59-31 victory.
This was the second meeting between the two teams this year and both ended with a similar result. St. Pius won handily in January, topping Los Alamos by 24 points.
Hilltopper head coach Ann Stewart, who has guided Los Alamos to the playoffs in both years she’s led the team, said afterward Los Alamos needed to win the battle for rebounds and keep St. Pius from setting itself up with easy buckets. Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers were able to do neither Friday night.