Girls basketball: Toppers pick up district victory

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By The Staff

The first goal for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team Friday was to get back to playing good team basketball.

The second goal was to pick up a win and try to get back on track in District 2AAAA.

Both of those things got done.

The Hilltoppers earned a solid win Friday at Griffith Gymnasium, downing the Taos Tigers 56-43. The win snaps a two-game district skid, although it will be a fully uphill climb for the Hilltoppers in the 2AAAA race with three regular season contests left.

Taos, which needed desperately to get something going to salvage its regular season, put up a good fight in the first half. Los Alamos, however, started to pull away in the third quarter and never looked back.

Everyone who played in the game for Los Alamos Friday night ended up getting in the scoring column. Hilltopper head coach Tarah Logan said it was important to her squad to get everyone involved as much as possible.

“Our whole goal is that, everything we do, we do as a team,” Logan said. “That reflected on the scoreboard. It was really thrilling to see.”

Bryanna Richins had 13 points to pace the Hilltoppers (12-11 overall, 3-2 in 2AAAA). Shelby Courtright, who had a career night Jan. 20 in Los Alamos’ first meeting with Taos, scoring 20 points, had another big game Friday, finishing with 11 points.

Tyree Richins finished with seven points Friday, Sarah Worland had six and Cora Pack finished with five.

Kate Rooney, who got some big backside rebounds in the final quarter to help secure the lead, finished with four points, as did Kayci Harmon.

Both teams started off Friday’s game deliberately on offense, trying to work the ball around the perimeter.

Los Alamos had a 9-8 edge after the first quarter.

Los Alamos held a four-point lead at the half, then started to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Taos 14-9.

Sidney Swinehart, the Tigers’ man scoring threat, had a huge night, finishing with 28 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Tigers (5-13 overall, 0-4 in 2AAAA), who at this point appear to be just fighting to stay out of the district basement so they can host at least one home game in the district tournament.

Los Alamos has just one home game remaining in the regular season, its season finale against Capital Feb. 20, a game that could have huge consequences for the district, especially if Los Alamos is able to upset Española Valley Feb. 17 on the road.

It won’t play again until Saturday, which Logan said would give the team a chance to work on its overall game.

“We’re probably going to be doing everything,” she said. “We’re going to be doing some ball-handling, passing and working on pressure layups. As always, shooting and lots and lots of free throws.”