Hilltoppers roll to win

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team picked up its third win of the season over a Class 4A opponent Friday and did so in dominant fashion.


Los Alamos held the Piedra Vista Panthers to just 14 points in the first half and forced a slew of first half turnovers.

Meanwhile, Los Alamos forward Kiana Zerr ran the floor effectively and finished on several Hilltopper fast break chances as Los Alamos thumped Piedra Vista 55-33 at Griffith Gymnasium.

Los Alamos never trailed in the game and went on a 10-0 run in the first quarter, taking advantage of a whopping 11 turnovers by the Panthers.

The Hilltoppers, who won their second contest in a row, had their transition game working about as well as it has all season. The Panthers seemed to have the size advantage, sporting 6-foot-2 center Kaleigh Graham, but struggled to keep up with the Hilltoppers running the floor.

Graham didn’t end up being much of a factor. She got in early foul trouble for pushing down low, and sat out all but about a minute of the second quarter.

Without Graham, the rest of the Panthers couldn’t seem to get on the same page and had a string of six consecutive turnovers, most of which Los Alamos (3-5) converted into points on the other end.

Zerr, who is having a good start to her year, had 10 points in the first half, but also got into foul trouble and sat out much of the second half. She finished with 11 points.

Everyone on the Hilltopper roster Friday had at least two points. The Hilltoppers were led by McKenzie Logan with 14 points. Logan also had four steals, four assists and a blocked shot.

The lone bright spot of the contest for Piedra Vista was Nikki Benally, who finished with 14 points, using an effective dribble-drive from the top of the key.

But the Panthers managed just four field goals in the first half and 11 for the game against Los Alamos’ defense. In fact, the Panthers (3-4) finished with only one more shot taken from the floor (30) than turnovers (29).

Los Alamos improves to 3-1 against Class 4A competition, its only defeat coming against defending state champion Los Lunas Dec. 12.