Girls basketball: Toppers survive a scare in Taos

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team survived a closer-than-expected contest Friday night at Taos.

In the first game of the second leg of the District 2AAAA season, the Hilltoppers had to work hard in the fourth quarter to shake Taos’ Tigers. The Tigers cut the Hilltopper lead down to just one point in the third quarter. But a 20-point final quarter by the Hilltoppers gave them a 52-41 victory on the road.

“That’s the best game I’ve seen Taos play, ever,” Los Alamos head coach Tarah Logan said. “They put good pressure on the ball and made some really good runs at us and we let them back in...but we knuckled-down when we had to.”

The win gave Los Alamos the regular season sweep over Taos, although the teams could potentially meet in the district tournament in three weeks.

Los Alamos held Taos to just 13 points in the first half, but a slow offensive start kept it from capitalizing on a good defensive effort. It scored just 19 points in the same span.

Then, as the Tigers (7-16 overall, 1-4 in 2AAAA) started to make a mini-run, the Hilltoppers called a timeout to get things focused back to what the team does best, namely playing good defense and taking high-percentage shots.

Los Alamos forward Shelby Courtright had a good showing Friday, scoring 14 points, while Los Alamos’ other forward, Taylor Ealey, dropped in 11 points.

Tyree Richins, who was coming off a big game in a crucial victory by Los Alamos over Capital, finished with 9 points and 2-guard Jenny Tumas added 7.

“It was a very physical game,” Logan said. “That’s what we were expecting. We had a real tough match-up with them in Los Alamos, even if the score didn’t show that.”

Los Alamos won’t play again until Saturday when it hosts the Bernalillo Spartans. It had a similar open week last season and Logan said it will use the time off to stress fundamentals such as passing and ball control.

The Hilltoppers (14-8 overall, 4-1) are currently in second place in the 2AAAA standings behind only Española Valley. They are currently 1-1/2 games ahead of third-place Capital.

NOTE: Los Alamos remained in fifth place in this week’s Class AAAA coaches’ poll, picking up 56 points.