Prep girls basketball: SF High topples Los Alamos

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Turnovers remain issue for ‘Toppers in 51-38 loss to Demons

By Jose Corral

The Los Alamos girls basketball team is going through an offensive rough patch.
And Hilltoppers coach Josh Archuleta said he’s not ready to “let the reigns loose” on offense. Turnovers remain the big issue for the Hilltoppers who amassed more than 20 turnovers for a second-straight game.
Los Alamos scored less than 40 points for the sixth time this season en route to a 51-38 loss against Santa Fe High Tuesday night at Griffith Gym.
“I asked them what team we’re going to be,” Archuleta said. “I can’t have a heckle and jeckle team where I let them turn loose and have double-digit turnovers. Once you’re in double-digit turnovers, it’s hard to recover from that. We really worked on shooting (on Monday) and emphasized on going back to the basics.”  
The Hilltoppers fell to 3-4 on the season, while the Demons improved to 2-4.
“If we keep teams to 40 and below it would be a different ball game,” Archuleta said. “I know we’re the better team but when it comes down to crunch time, these girls love that atmosphere.”
Offensively, Los Alamos struggled out of the gate going 1 of 3 from the floor. Meanwhile, Santa Fe went 4 for 4 to start the game, including two 3-pointers to help give the Demons a 12-10 first quarter lead.
The Hilltoppers got some needed momentum to start the second quarter, as a Casey Trujillo trey gave Los Alamos a 13-12 lead - it’s first lead of the game. However, the Demons gained some real momentum going on a 11-3 run in the following five minutes.
Los Alamos was able to finish the opening half on a high note, scoring the final five points to cut the Demons halftime lead to 24-20.
“The defense has been there but I think we could’ve done a better job tonight,” Archuleta said. “This is the first someone has scored 50 one us. We clogged up the middle and they hit on the outside. We blocked the outside then they went in the inside. I have to give it to Sante Fe. They wanted it more and they were the better team tonight.”
Santa Fe got off to a quick start in the third quarter and garnered a 32-23 lead after a Kaya Suina triple in the opening three minutes of the second half. Shannon Irwin cut the Santa Fe lead to 33-28 with 1:08 left in the third quarter but the Demons answered with four straight points to take a 37-28 lead into the final eight minutes.
A 3-pointer from Adonica Baca-Martinez, who finished with a game-high 17 points, extended the Demons lead to 41-30 with 4:39 left in the game. Santa Fe opened up a 14-pont lead and outscored Los Alamos 14-10 in the fourth quarter.
“I told the girls “If you guys want to be that team that’s going to push the ball and create some offense, you have to let me know because if you’re going to do that, then I’ll let the reigns loose,” Archuleta said. “But I can’t let the reigns loose if we’re going to turn the ball over 28 times.”
Ashley Logan led Los Alamos with 12 points, as Irwin contributed with heavy doses of energy on defense and on the offensive boards.
“I pulled back the offense so we could set up,” Archuleta said. “We cut our turnovers down to single digits but then I paid for it in the end.”
The Hilltoppers played Cibola in the first round of the Albuquerque Academy Invitational on Thursday. Look for a recap of that game in the Los Alamos Monitor’s Sunday edition.
“Our expectation is to continue with our goal for the year,” Archuleta said about the Academy Invitational. “We’re going to try to keep teams to 40 and below. And keep up the defensive intensity.”