Prep boys basketball: ‘Toppers run past Pintos

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By Jose Corral

Finishing strong was something the Los Alamos boys basketball team wanted to do better after its season opener.
An impressive second-half performance led to the Hilltoppers improving to 2-0 after defeating Moriarty 62-37 on Tuesday at Griffith Gym.
“We came out moving much better in the second half,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “We were able to stretch a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter up to 16 points by the end of the quarter. With Moriarty now having to spread their defense to try to pressure more, we were able to find openings and extended our lead in the fourth.”
Los Alamos got off to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter and extened its lead to 16-11 with four minutes left in the first half. Moriarty roared back with a 7-4 run to end the second quarter and cut the Los Alamos lead to 20-18 at halftime.
The Hilltoppers began to pull away in the third quarter by taking a 34-24 lead midway through the frame. Los Alamos scored 10 more points in the quarter to take a 44-28 lead into the final frame. Michael Naranjo was key in the Hilltoppers third quarter success, as the junior forward scored seven points and went 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the quarter.
The Hilltoppers doubled up Moriarty 18-9 in the final eight minutes to earn their first 2-0 start since the 2009-10 season.
Just like in the season opener, Naranjo led the Los Alamos offense scoring a game-high 13 points.
Adam Paulson added 12 points for the Hilltoppers, while Kyle Newell, Jack Stewart and Ivan Balakirev scored seven apiece.
“Moriarty played a fairly physical first half and pushed our height away from the basket,” Kluk said. “They played a sagging man defense and packed the lane. The game stayed close the first half.”
Matt Soto paced Moriarty by scoring eight points.
The Hilltoppers will travel to face St. Michael’s at 7 p.m. tonight in Santa Fe.