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LAHS drops district tourney final to Pojoaque, earns No. 12 seed at state tourney

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By Phil Scherer

Despite losing in the district tournament championship game 55-41 to Pojoaque Valley, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team will play at least one more game. LAHS earned the No. 12 seed in the Class 4A state basketball tournament and will play No. 5 seed Highland in the first round 7 p.m. Friday 

The Hilltoppers had a chance to earn a better seed in the tournament with a good performance against Pojoaque Valley in the district tournament, but the team struggled throughout the evening. 

Becca Green, who normally dominates under the basket for the Hilltoppers, was limited to just 4 points in the game, and went just 2-7 from the free throw line. 

Free throws were an issue across the board for LAHS, particularly in the first half. The Hilltoppers went just 3-17 from the free throw line in the first and second quarter.

Two of the made free throws came from Alex Calderon, who finished the game with a team-high 13 points. She also made LAHS’ only three three-pointers of the game. 

LAHS trailed 15-6 after the first quarter, and the deficit grew to 28-16 by halftime. 

Many times throughout the second half, LAHS had chances to cut into the deficit. At one point, the Hilltoppers trailed by just six points. But every time LAHS made a run, the Elkettes answered right back to take control again. 

LAHS trailed 41-30 heading into the final quarter and lost 55-41. Pojoaque Valley won the District 2-4A tournament championship after earning the regular season championship with a win against the Hilltoppers Feb. 23. 

With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, LAHS will set its sights on the state tournament and Highland High School. The Hornets went 19-6 overall, and finished with a perfect 10-0 record in district play. 

Highland defeated Hope Christian 50-47 to win its district tournament. 

Much like Pojoaque Valley, the Hornets can match LAHS’ size under the basket with three girls over 6-feet tall. Cailee Crawford, a sophomore, is the team’s top offensive threat. She scores more than 22 points per game. Her sister, Brooklyn Crawford, is a force on the defensive end of the floor. She has 122 blocks this season and is the team’s leading rebounder. Her availability for the state tournament is unknown, though. 

She has not played in a game since Feb. 15, when she exited a game early against Valley. 

Highland is great on the defensive end of the floor, giving up just over 43 points per game. 

Two other teams from District 2-4A made the tournament as well. District champion Pojoaque Valley earned the No. 4 seed, and the Elkettes will face No. 13 seed Española Valley in the first round. 

The winner of that game will face the winner of the game between LAHS and Highland in the quarterfinals March 12 at Dreamstyle Arena, commonly known as The Pit, in Albuquerque. 

The following teams advanced to the Class 4A girls’ state basketball tournament:

No. 1 Kirtland Central

No. 2 Los Lunas

No. 3 Gallup

No. 4 Pojoaque Valley

No. 5 Highland

No. 6 Silver

No. 7 St. Pius

No. 8 Portales

No. 9 Artesia

No. 10 Hope Christian

No. 11 Goddard

No. 12 Los Alamos

No. 13 Española Valley

No. 14 Grants

No. 15 Bernalillo

No. 16 Shiprock