Balanced scoring proving to be key for boys basketball

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By Phil Scherer

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.

For the season, he is now averaging nearly 10 points per game. His only real weakness in his game is the amount of fouls he commits, which limits his minutes. This was a real problem against Pojoaque, when he collected four fouls in the first half and had to sit the majority of the second half.

Also contributing offensively for the team has been Ramon Roybal, who is averaging 10 points per game this season.

Much like Trujillo, many of his explosive games came early in the season, but his 14-point game against Pojoaque showed he might be on the rise offensively again.

He has made, and attempted, more 3-point shots than anyone on the team, connecting on 22 of 77 shots from outside this season.

Other key contributors to the offense include Gavin Campos and Michael Naranjo, both of whom are averaging more than 7 points per game this year. Campos has been a threat from the outside and in the paint, while Naranjo has been one of the team’s most consistent inside threats.

This season, Kluk has praised Campos’ ability to get to the basket, and believes his long arms will allow him to continue growing as a player.

He has also said that Naranjo provides a tough matchup for a lot of teams because of his size, and his ability to shoot with accuracy and strength.

As the team prepares to enter district play in two weeks, this scoring balance will be highly important as the Hilltoppers attempt to compete with Española Valley and Capital, two state championship contenders.

Those teams, which will attempt to shut down the opposition’s leading scorer by any means necessary, will have trouble if LAHS is able to spread the ball around effectively.

Their ability to do so will be the deciding factor between the Hilltoppers being a threat in District 2-5A, or little more than a speed bump.