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LAHS improves to 5-0 in district

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By Phil Scherer

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team is still in first place in District 2-4A, sitting at 5-0 after a road victory against Moriarty Friday night. 

Earlier this season, Moriarty provided the Hilltoppers with one of the toughest district games so far, erasing a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to force overtime. LAHS regained control in overtime to win the game 62-54. 

Early on, it appeared the rematch would feature similar drama. In the first half, Moriarty did an outstanding job of guarding LAHS junior Becca Green, who has been the team’s top offensive threat all season. She was often double-teamed or triple-teamed, keeping her out of the offense most of the time. 

In her place, senior Alex Calderon did a great job of scoring, knocking down a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter, and another in the second quarter. LAHS connected on five total three-pointers in the first half. 

The Hilltoppers trailed 11-10 after the first quarter, but bounced back to take a 28-26 lead heading into halftime. 

LAHS’ defense stepped up in the third quarter, forcing Moriarty turnovers and taking the Pintos out of a rhythm. This allowed the Hilltoppers to get back to what makes them so dangerous, scoring near the basket and in transition. Junior Jenee Montoya scored 6 points in the quarter, and Green contributed 4 points, all of them coming after a missed shot by Moriarty. 

The Hilltoppers outscored the Pintos 14-6 in the quarter, and took a 42-32 lead into the final eight minutes of action. 

Unlike the first matchup between the two teams, though, this time LAHS never let go of control of the game. 

Junior Natalie Gallegos increased the lead to double digits with a three-pointer from the corner, and added a short jumper on the next possession. 

Green also added another 4 points, keeping the offensive pressure on at all times. 

On the other side, Moriarty knocked down only two shots from the field in the final quarter. One of the biggest keys to success for the Hilltoppers was limiting the three-point shooting of the Pintos. 

In the first matchup between the teams, Moriarty connected on seven three-point shots. In the rematch, though, the Pintos only hit one three-pointer, late in the game from Kailie Edwards. 

The Hilltoppers outscored Moriarty 13-10 in the quarter, and cruised to a 55-42 victory. 

Despite being neutralized for much of the game, Green led the Hilltoppers with 14 points, while Calderon and Montoya added 11 points apiece. 

LAHS won the game despite being without the services of Alix Hailey and Michaela Gonzales, both of whom were out of town. 

Gonzales has been a consistent starter and offensive contributor for the Hilltoppers, while Hailey has done a nice job at the point guard position, starting at various points for the team. 

The Hilltoppers improve to 11-12 overall, and 5-0 in district play. The team will return to action Saturday night, when Española Valley pays a visit to Griffith Gymnasium.