LAHS girls basketball struggles at early season tournament

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By Phil Scherer

The first two games of the Joe Armijo Classic in Albuquerque didn’t go the way the Los Alamos High School girls basketball team envisioned, continuing a rough start to the year.

The Hilltoppers dropped games Thursday and Friday against Las Cruces High School and Cleveland High School, both by large margins.

Thursday’s game saw LAHS match up against Las Cruces, the top ranked team in Class 6A.

Almost immediately, the game got out of hand. In the first quarter, Las Cruces jumped out to a 22-4 lead, as sophomore Becca Green was the only Hilltopper able to get into the scoring column.

Las Cruces used the full-court press against the Hilltoppers to perfection, forcing turnovers and limiting offensive opportunities. That, combined with the team’s prowess on the offensive end of the floor, made things impossible for LAHS.

At halftime, the Hilltoppers trailed 45-12.

As the time clock ticked down in the second half, the deficit for LAHS widened as offense continued to be hard to come by.

After three quarters, Las Cruces led 64-17, and the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock, which allowed the entire quarter to be played in less than 10 minutes.

As time expired, Las Cruces walked away with a 70-26 win.

Green led the Hilltoppers with 8 points, while Natalie Gallegos added 6, and Susana Gallegos added 4.

With the loss, LAHS moved to the consolation bracket, where Cleveland High School awaited Friday morning.

Friday’s game wasn’t much kinder to the Hilltoppers, as the offensive struggles continued. In the first quarter, LAHS managed just 3 points, and trailed 13-3.

The team had its opportunities on the offensive end, but struggled to convert.

Though an Alex Calderon three-pointer momentarily energized the Hilltoppers in the second quarter, it was short lived, as Cleveland carried a 21-10 lead into halftime.

Calderon led the Hilltoppers in scoring in the first half with 5 points, while nobody else contributed more than 2 points.

The second half was more of the same, as Cleveland began asserting its will inside, and created opportunities for outside shots, which were made with precision. Cleveland led 38-18 after three quarters, and cruised to a 58-29 victory.

Calderon and Jenna Harris led LAHS with 5 points apiece, and Hannah Sanchez added 4 points.

In total, 10 Hilltoppers entered the scoring column in the game, though none were able to make a substantial impact.

The loss drops LAHS record to 3-6. The team will return to Griffith Gymnasium for a pair of games next week, Tuesday against Hope Christian and Thursday against St. Pius X. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.