Boys basketball struggles at Roswell tourney

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By Phil Scherer

After taking nearly two weeks off for the holiday break, the Los Alamos High School boys basketball team got back to action last weekend in the Roswell Poe Corn tournament, finishing in sixth out of eight teams competing.

The tournament appeared to be starting on a high note for the Hilltoppers, as LAHS jumped out to an early lead on Artesia High School in the first round matchup. In fact, the Hilltoppers led by 10 in the first quarter, led by 6 quick points from Troy Hammock.

The strong play continued into the second quarter, as the LAHS offense continued to be productive, and the defense stood strong. At halftime, the Hilltoppers led 30-15.

Everything changed for LAHS after halftime, however. Artesia began slowly chipping away at the lead, and took control. The Hilltoppers scored just 8 points in the quarter, compared to 25 for Artesia. The uptick in offense allowed Artesia to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter 40-38.

LAHS was never able to get its offense going down the stretch, and scored just 5 points in the final quarter. Artesia remained in control throughout, and defeated the Hilltoppers 52-43.

Hammock finished with 15 points, while Michael Naranjo scored 9 and Antonio Trujillo added 8.

One of the biggest issues for the Hilltoppers was the team’s inability to knock down 3-point shots. As a team, LAHS was just 1-15 in the game on those attempts.

With the loss, LAHS moved to the consolation side of the bracket and faced off against Farmington High School in the second round.

In that game, LAHS utilized its strengths more effectively, and jumped out to a 12-7 lead after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Farmington made a big push, and made it a 1-point game at halftime, 26-25.

The Hilltoppers jumped out to a more comfortable lead in the third quarter, outscoring Farmington by 6 points and going up 44-37. From there, LAHS cruised to a 57-51 victory.

Four Hilltoppers scored in double digits in the game. Gavin Campos led the way with 15 points. Trujillo scored 12. Ramon Roybal had 11, and Hammock added 10.

The team was more successful from deep range in the game as well, knocking down four 3-pointers, including a pair from Roybal.

Another positive is LAHS committed just nine fouls in the win.

To finish out the tournament, the Hilltoppers took on Gallup High School in the tournament’s fifth place game.

Once again, LAHS jumped out to an early lead, going on top 19-10 after the first quarter. But much like the other games in the tournament, the Hilltoppers allowed Gallup to get right back in the game. Gallup outscored LAHS 18-13 in the quarter, and went into halftime trailing by just 4 points at 32-28.

The momentum continued in Gallup’s favor coming out of halftime, as Gallup outscored LAHS by 5 points, and entered the fourth quarter leading 45-44.

From there, LAHS continued to struggle and fell 57-51 to finish the tournament in sixth place.

Hammock was again an offensive standout, scoring 18 points, and collecting 10 rebounds. David Owen also played well, knocking down four 3-point shots and scoring 12 points.