LA crushes Bernalillo to open 2-4A

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By Mike Cote

BERNALILLO — Just like it needed to, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team picked up a big victory to open the District 2-4A season.
Los Alamos held the Bernalillo Spartans to just two points in the first quarter and dropped in 23 points in the second quarter to breeze to victory.
In the second half, the Hilltoppers liberally substituted their bench players but didn’t let the Spartans back into the contest.
McKenzie Logan and Kiana Zerr both turned in big performances for the second straight game as Los Alamos cruised to a 58-24 victory.
Logan and Zerr combined for 19 points in the first half as Los Alamos jumped out to a big lead early. Los Alamos opened the game on a 12-1 run, then in the second quarter, Zerr dropped in eight points to put the game on ice by the half.
Los Alamos got 9 of its 10 roster players in the scoring column, which it was it was hoping for out of Tuesday’s contest.
“That’s what we need to be successful in district,” said Hilltopper head coach Ann Stewart. “We need to get lots of people involved and not get one-dimensional.”
It was the second straight win for the Hilltoppers under Stewart, who has been head coach for just over a week.
The Hilltoppers will face a much stiffer test for their second game of the 2-4A season. They will face the Santa Fe Demons, currently the No. 2-ranked team in 4A and currently undefeated.
The Demons opened their 2-4A season Tuesday night as well, defeating the Española Valley Sundevils — who are ranked ahead of the Hilltoppers in the most recent Class 4A poll — by a count of 64-57.
Despite facing a struggling squad, Los Alamos didn’t have the luxury of taking Bernalillo lightly.
“We definitely had to come away with a win,” Stewart said. “We needed to play strong and we needed to do it in a big way.”
For Los Alamos, Logan scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the first half. Zerr finished with 13 points, 9 in the first half.
On the defensive end, Los Alamos held Bernalillo without a field goal for more than 9-1/2 minutes to open the first half and forced 14 first half turnovers.
Bernalillo (1-18 overall, 0-1 in district) has struggled all season and is among the most offensively-anemic teams in Class 4A, not even averaging 30 points per game. The Spartans finished the game with just 8 field goals and no player breaking into double-digits in the scoring column.
For the Hilltoppers (11-8), they flirted with a 50 percent shooting night through the first three quarters, close to the same clip they shot in their previous game, an upset victory over Class 5A Sandia.
Cristina Perez had 5 points, best among the Hilltopper bench players Tuesday. Erin Kirk and Amber Logan both had 6 points.