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Hilltoppers lose final non-district game

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By Phil Scherer

In the final non-district game of the season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team faced its toughest test yet as the La Cueva Lady Bears invaded Griffith Gymnasium. Though LAHS put up a good fight, La Cueva proved why it is one of the top teams in the state as the Lady Bears defeated the Hilltoppers 56-38. 

La Cueva entered the game with a record of 14-2, ranked near the top of the Class 5A standings. The Lady Bears have been dominant at times this season, with multiple scoring threats on the floor at all times. 

That scoring ability was certainly on display Saturday against LAHS, as La Cueva showed an ability to score from anywhere on the floor. 

Early on, though, LAHS’ size advantage was key, as the Hilltoppers jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead, with all of the points coming from junior forward Becca Green, who dominated under the basket. 

La Cueva answered back in a hurry, outscoring LAHS 10-2 the rest of the quarter to take a 12-10 lead. The Lady Bears were helped by a technical foul issued to LAHS head coach Lanse Carter, who argued a foul call with one of the officials. The technical foul led to five points from the Bears, helping them to take control. 

After looking so strong on the offensive end early on, LAHS was unable to put anything together in the second quarter. Every pass was defended well, and the team struggled to find an open shot. On the other end, La Cueva seemed unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor, scoring 18 points and taking over the game. 

At halftime, the Hilltoppers trailed 30-15. Seven players scored for the Lady Bears in the first half, compared to just three for the Hilltoppers. 

Though LAHS found more consistent offense in the second half, the team found it difficult to overcome the large deficit. Green and fellow junior Natalie Gallegos were successful getting to the basket, as both scored 4 points in the third quarter. 

One of the best stories of the night for the Hilltoppers came in the fourth quarter, when JV standout Sam Archuleta made her varsity debut. She is one of the top three-point shooters in the system for LAHS, and proved that in her debut. She knocked down both of her shots in the fourth quarter, the first a deep three-pointer and the second a midrange jumped from the left baseline. She finished the game with 5 points in just five minutes of action. 

The Hilltoppers kept pace with La Cueva in the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost the game 56-38. 

Green led the Hilltoppers with 16 points, while Gallegos added 7 points. 

LAHS gets back to district play this week with a game on the road at Española Valley 7 p.m. Thursday and a home game against Taos 7 p.m. Saturday. The Hilltoppers are currently 7-12 overall, and 1-0 in District 2-4A play.