Prep girls hoops: ‘Toppers fall to Eldorado, open district play Wednesday

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By Jose Corral

It’s questionable why the Los Alamos girls basketball team played one of the state’s perennial powerhouses five days before that start of District 2-5A play.
But the Hilltoppers (5-13) did and now have to ensure that Friday’s 67-21 loss against Eldorado at Griffith Gym won’t have a daunting affect during district.
“This is hands down the best team we’ve faced all season,” Los Alamos coach Josh Archuleta said. “We just summed it up as a measurable loss. It can definitely have a positive or negative affect in district. But I told them I would rather lose like this against a good team than lose a close one to a team in our district.”
Archuleta said he knew it was going to be difficult to generate offense against a stifling Eagles defense. But Los Alamos made it even more difficult by turning the ball over 16 times in the first half. The Hilltoppers also didn’t capitalize from 10 Eldorado turnovers in the second quarter, as the Eagles went into halftime with a 34-9 lead.
Los Alamos limited the turnovers in the second half but was unable to limit Eldorado’s offensive prowess. The Eagles got off to a 9-0 start in the second half and outscored the Hilltoppers 33-12 in the final 16 minutes.
“This was a learning experience and they got measure up against one of the best teams in the state,” Archuleta said. “Hopefully they can see what it takes to be one of those teams.”
Los Alamos will switch its focus to District 2-5A play when it travels to face Del Norte at 7 p.m. tonight in Albuquerque.
“It’s a brand new season, everybody is 0-0,” Archuleta said. “I think they realized that there are some better teams in the state but in our district there is no reason why we can’t control our own destiny.”
District 2-5A outlook: Albuquerque Academy will enter district play with the best record at 12-4, while Española Valley will follow with an 11-4 record.
The Chargers have wins against Mayfield and St. Pius and losses against Roswell and Cleveland. Academy will also enter district riding a five-game win streak.
“Acdemy is a heck of a ball club,” Archuleta said. “They have a little bit of everything. They have bigs, they have guards. We just have to play our kind of basketball.”
The Sundevils have wins against Gallup, St. Michael’s and Aztec and dropped tough games against Las Cruces High and Carlsbad.
“Española is the biggest rival of this school and they’re going to come out and play scrappy basketball,” Archuleta said. “We have to be able to control the tempo and play our defense.”
Espanola and Academy will face off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Albuquerque.    
Del Norte is 9-7 overall, while Capital stands at 3-15.