Eldorado runs past Los Alamos, 63-44

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By Jose Corral

It was evenly matched for 16 minutes.
Then, Eldorado switched to a full-court pressure defense that dismantled the Los Alamos boys basketball team’s rhythm.
That second-half adjustment helped Eldorado claim a 63-44 victory against the Hilltoppers Friday night at Griffith Gym.
“They (Los Alamos) thought that once we stayed with them for a few minutes, we would be in it,” Hilltoppers coach Mike Kluk said. “There was a bit of fatigue settling in from playing two nights in a row. They (Eldorado) picked up the pressure and once they got their legs under them, they just kept rolling.”
Los Alamos fell to 4-4 overall, while the Eagles improved to 3-1 on the season.
The Eagles only led 26-23 halftime, as the Hilltoppers were having success defending one of the few teams that matched up in size with Los Alamos. The Hilltoppers also had success getting the ball inside on the offensive end.
“We came out with some intensity,” Kluk said. “We trying to be tougher tonight and for a half I thought we were fairly tough. But when things got down, I think our toughness went away. We just have to keep working on that.”
But that, a long with the momentum, switched once Eldorado began applying pressure in the Los Alamos backcourt to start the third quarter. The Eagles ended the third quarter on an 11-0 run and outscored Los Alamos 26-14 in the quarter to take a 52-37 lead into the final eight minutes.
“It got us sped up,” Kluk said. “It got us out of our rhythm and got them in their rhythm. Our guys did not handle us well. That third quarter killed us when they put that press on us.”
Eldorado’s lead grew to as much as 21 in the quarter, as Eagles forward Trenton Gaither capitalized from Los Alamos turnovers and turned them into transition dunks.
The Hilltoppers were playing their second game in as many days and Kluk said he wanted to rotate players in and out of the line up to avoid fatigue.
“We subbed a lot tonight,” Kluk said. “We can see the fatigue setting in halfway through the second quarter. We’re still trying to play a lot of people and see who can do what. And we’re still trying to get an idea of what group can do what pretty well. At times you sub yourself into situations that you wish you hadn’t have.”  
For the second straight-game, Antonio Trujillo led Los Alamos with 12 points. Ramon Roybal added 11 for the Hilltoppers.
Gaither paced the Eagles with a game-high 20 points.
The Hilltoppers won’t play until Dec. 28 when they face Belen in the first round of the Poe Corn Tournament in Roswell.
“If we can come out of that tournament in good shape just play everybody tough and hopefully win a couple, that’ll help our confidence,” Kluk said. “It’s a good statement maker for qualifying for the state tournament if you can get a couple of wins down there. It’s a big tournament for us.”