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Atomic City Update: Carter has created winning culture for Hilltopper girls’ basketball

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By Phil Scherer

If you are a fan of Los Alamos girls’ basketball, you have to be pretty happy right now. In the last two weeks, the Hilltoppers have taken down Española Valley and Pojoaque Valley, both games in which LAHS was the underdog. 

Through the first rotation of district play, the Hilltoppers are undefeated and look like a real threat to win a district title. The odds of that happening before the season were monumental. This was a team that won a total of six games last year, and six games the year before that. 

There has been a massive culture change over the last few months. Now, the girls expect to win every time they show up to the court. There is aggressiveness and a sense of confidence that has been missing for years. 

For the most part, the girls remain the same from last year’s team. The difference is, with Lanse Carter now coaching the girls, they understand what it means to play as a team, have a better grasp on the fundamentals and have a solid game plan heading into every matchup. 

The job Carter has done cannot be overstated. His team is full of great athletes, but most of them are not natural students of the game of basketball. Two of his greatest weapons are his pair of 6-foot juniors, Becca Green and Natalie Gallegos. While they have really come into their own this season on the basketball court, they are even better at other sports, which takes their attention away from the court for large portions of the year. 

Green is the defending state champion in the shot put and the discus, while Gallegos was named the district player of the year in volleyball last fall. 

Being able to dominate multiple sports make these players even more impressive athletes. Under Carter, they have been able to do that. 

Very few teams are able to match up against Green under the basket, and she has become one of the biggest X-factors in the entire state. 

By double-teaming her, it frees up Gallegos, who is just as capable of dominating any opponent. 

Recently, LAHS has shown an improvement from the three-point line as well, knocking down eight shots from long range in the win over Pojoaque. 

Every night, the Hilltoppers show a new skill that teams have to prepare for, and that makes them dangerous at the end of the season. 

It has been an absolute joy to watch the team improve so drastically from one year to the next, and Carter has to be commended for the job he has done. 

Now, the only question that remains is how far this team can go in the postseason. 

When the Hilltoppers play up to their potential, they are capable of taking down any team in the state of New Mexico.