LAHS boys’ basketball drops Senior Night contest to Taos

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By Phil Scherer

Throughout the season, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team has found a way to remain competitive. Even against the toughest opponents, the Hilltoppers are usually within striking distance in the second half. The issue has always been finishing the game. That theme continued on Senior Night at Griffith Gymnasium, as the Hilltoppers fell to Taos 67-54.

This was the final regular season home game for LAHS seniors Gabriel Holesinger and David Owen, both of whom have played key roles for the Hilltoppers over the past four seasons.

LAHS began the game strong, as junior Gavin Campos scored 11 points in the opening quarter. His efforts helped lead the Hilltoppers to a 19-17 lead heading into the second quarter.

Taos’ Abdul Khweis was equally strong in the opening quarter, scoring 13 points.

The second quarter was an entirely different story for the Hilltoppers, as the team failed to knock down a single shot from the field. The only two Hilltopper points came on a pair of free throws by Owen.

On the other side, Taos took full advantage, outscoring LAHS 18-2 in the quarter to take a 35-21 lead heading into halftime. Khweis was the leading scorer at the break with 16 points.

Shots began falling again for the Hilltoppers in the third quarter, as Owen scored 6 points and Campos added another 3 points. Taos continued to dominate offensively, though, stretching the lead to 18 points, 52-34. The Tigers knocked down a trio of three-pointers in the quarter.

LAHS began a furious comeback in the final quarter and began playing highly aggressively on the defensive end. The aggressive play led to numerous turnovers and easy baskets, which allowed LAHS to cut the deficit to single digits.

A pair of unnecessary mistakes by the Tigers aided LAHS’ cause. First, Taos point guard Derreck Chacon was called for a technical foul for kicking one of the LAHS’ players. Then, Husam Khweis was called for an intentional foul as Holesinger hit the ground hard and had to be helped off the floor.

The Hilltoppers failed to take full advantage, though. LAHS cut the lead to 6 points, but could get no closer. A late three-pointer by Taos’ Justin Madrid extended the lead back to double digits and the Tigers cruised to a 67-54 victory.

Campos led LAHS with 18 points, while Owen added 12 points and Brian Irwin scored 11 points.

Abdul Khweis stole the show for the Tigers, scoring 28 points.

LAHS drops to 1-6 in district play but maintains a strong hold on the No. 4 seed in the district tournament. The Hilltoppers will host the first round of the tournament at 7 p.m. Monday at Griffith Gymnasium against Moriarty. Earlier this season, LAHS defeated the Pintos at Griffith Gymnasium 55-41.