• Prep boys hoops: Toppers go 1-2 in Poe Corn tourney

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team got a good indication of how it matched up against other Class 5A teams.
    The Hilltoppers finished the Poe Corn Tournament in Roswell with one win and two tough losses.
    Los Alamos opened the tournament on Dec. 28 with a 44-33 loss against Belen. On Thursday, the Hilltoppers regrouped and downed Bloomfield 55-44 to setup a fifth-place game against Farmington on Friday. Los Alamos was unable to end the tournament on a high note, dropping a 55-39 decision against the Scorpions.
    Against Belen, the Hilltoppers were playing its best defensive game of the season, only allowing 22 points through the first three quartersl and didn’t allow a point in the third quarter.  With scored tied 22-22 heading into the fourth quarter, the Eagles pulled away and outscored Los Alamos 22-11 in the final eight minutes.
    The 55 points Los Alamos scored against Bloomfield was the most since the Hilltoppers scored 63 points in a win against El Paso High (Texas) on Dec. 10. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Los Alamos.
    The loss to Farmington assured that Los Alamos would finish 1-2 in a regular season tournament, like it did in the Hub City Tournament in Belen in the second weekend of December.

  • Prep boys hoops: LA opens Poe Corn tourney tonight

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team will get another opportunity to make a name for itself in Class 5A.
    The Hilltoppers open the Poe Corn Invitational against Belen at 6 p.m. tonight in Roswell.
    “That’s a good 5A tournament,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “If we can come out of there with a couple of wins, that’ll help our confidence. It’s a big tournament for us. We can gain some respect or we can lose some respect.”
    Los Alamos (4-4) is riding a two-game losing streak, while Belen is 8-1 and has won its last five. Tonight’s matchup will be one of the Hilltoppers toughest tasks this season, as the Eagles have impressive wins against Alamogordo and Roswell and won its hosted Hub City Tournament. Los Alamos also participated in the Hub City Tournament and placed in seventh.
    Belen’s quick start has placed the Eagles on the list of Class 5A contenders, while Los Alamos got off to a 3-0 start but a couple of setbacks against St. Pius and Eldorado have ensured that the Hilltoppers need a good showing in Roswell to be considered a legitimate contender.
    Los Alamos and Belen have played each other the last seven seasons with the Eagles holding a 4-3 edge during that span.

  • LA hockey sweeps Odessa

    After dropping a tough 6-4 decision on Friday against NM Ice U-16, the Los Alamos hockey team came back with a 12-0 victory on Saturday and a 7-2 win on Sunday against Odessa. The Hilltoppers are back in action on Jan. 4, when they’ll host Santa Fe at 5:30 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.  JOHN MCHALE/Monitor

  • Prep girls basketball: Bulldogs edge Toppers

    The Los Alamos girls basketball team fell to 3-10 on the season after dropping a tightly contested game to Artesia 45-44 on Saturday at Griffith Gym.
    The Hilltoppers trailed by 10 entering the final quarter. An Ashley Antencio foul-and-bucket cut the Artesia lead to 43-37 with 3:35 left in regulation. A pair of Isabell Larribas free throws inched the Hilltoppers within four points. The Bulldogs got a 45-41 edge before Elena Abeyta hit two free throws and a triple to make it 45-44 with 11 seconds left.
    After Artesia missed a free throw attempt on the other end, Los Alamos snatched the rebound and Abeyta made her way down the court and put up a lay up attempt that only hit the backboard and didn’t give the Hilltoppers the buzzer-beating win.
    Los Alamos started strong and got off to a 6-1 start and led 7-5 after the first quarter. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with 2:07 left in the second quarter and had a 23-21 advantage at halftime.
    Artesia went on a 15-5 run midway through the third quarter that helped it lead 41-31 after 24 minutes.
    Abeyta finished with a team-high 19 points, while Atencio snatched a team-high seven rebounds for Los Alamos.
    The Hilltoppers are off until Jan. 5, when they’ll begin play in the Aztec Tournament.  

  • Eldorado runs past Los Alamos, 63-44

    It was evenly matched for 16 minutes.
    Then, Eldorado switched to a full-court pressure defense that dismantled the Los Alamos boys basketball team’s rhythm.
    That second-half adjustment helped Eldorado claim a 63-44 victory against the Hilltoppers Friday night at Griffith Gym.
    “They (Los Alamos) thought that once we stayed with them for a few minutes, we would be in it,” Hilltoppers coach Mike Kluk said. “There was a bit of fatigue settling in from playing two nights in a row. They (Eldorado) picked up the pressure and once they got their legs under them, they just kept rolling.”
    Los Alamos fell to 4-4 overall, while the Eagles improved to 3-1 on the season.
    The Eagles only led 26-23 halftime, as the Hilltoppers were having success defending one of the few teams that matched up in size with Los Alamos. The Hilltoppers also had success getting the ball inside on the offensive end.
    “We came out with some intensity,” Kluk said. “We trying to be tougher tonight and for a half I thought we were fairly tough. But when things got down, I think our toughness went away. We just have to keep working on that.”

  • LA girls hoops drop thriller at St. Pius

    The Los Alamos girls basketball team suffered its seventh straight loss after dropping a heartbreaking 39-35 decision against St. Pius on Thursday in Albuquerque.
    The Hilltoppers fell to 3-9 on the season and will host Artesia at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 17) at Griffith Gym. Los Alamos improved defensively after giving up 62 points per game in its previous three outings. The 39 points were the fewest the Hilltoppers allowed since giving 32 against Valencia on Dec. 3.
    Los Alamos is allowing 46.4 points per game, compared to scoring 34.4 points per game on offense.
    Scouting Artesia: The Bulldogs will be playing their second game in as many days, as they faced Capital on Friday. Prior to Friday’s game, Artesia was 3-1 on the season with wins against Santa Teresa, Ruidoso and Silver. The Bulldogs lone loss of the season came against Class 6A’s No. 1 Carlsbad.  


  • Prep boys basketball: Sartans out-tough ‘Toppers

    It appeared like the Los Alamos boys basketball team was on the brink of putting itself amongst Class 5A’s legitimate contenders.
    But St. Pius proved that the Hilltoppers still have work to do.
    The Sartans went into Griffith Gym on Thursday night and handed Los Alamos a 50-38 loss that made Hilltoppers coach Mike Kluk question his team’s toughness.
    “That was not a good showing at all,” Kluk said. “I really think we just got out-toughed tonight. They (St. Pius) just played good, solid hard-nose defense and don’t let you go where you want to go, which is exactly what we preach to our guys. But they do it. I’m very disappointed with the effort tonight.”
    Los Alamos was without Jack Stewart, who’s out with an ankle injury. Kluk expects Stewart to return in two or three weeks.
    “It would be nice to get Jack back at full strength but it’s going to be two or three weeks before he gets back full strength,” Kluk said. “That ankle might let him get back by the end of next week.”

  • LA girls hoops fall at Hope

    A matchup between the state’s No. 1 and No. 83 teams was only going to end one way.
    The Los Alamos girls basketball team had the tough task of following a weekend tournament by facing top-ranked (maxpreps.com) Hope Christian on Tuesday in Albuquerque. The Huskies, who are ranked 21st nationally, defeated the Hilltoppers 65-31.
    Los Alamos fell to 3-8 on the season, while Hope Christian remained unbeaten at 7-0. The Huskies also played and won the same tournament Los Alamos participated in last weekend.
    Seniors Elena Abeyta and Sienna Ahlers led Los Alamos with eight points apiece. Shannon Irwin and Isabell Larribas added four points each.
    Hanna Valencia paced the Huskies with a game-high 15 points.
    It was the sixth straight loss for the Hilltoppers, who faced St. Pius on Thursday after the Los Alamos Monitor’s Friday deadline.


  • Prep boys basketball: ’Toppers go 1-2 in Belen

    Last weekend’s Hub City Tournament in Belen provided a real glimpse of an improved Los Alamos boys basketball team.
    After dropping a 40-29 decision against Centennial in the first round, the Hilltoppers closed out the tournament with a three-point loss to Class 6A’s Valley and a 63-52 win against El Paso High (Texas).
    Valley was ranked No. 10 in the ProView Networks Class 6A rankings going into the weekend and defeated Centennial a week prior. A one-possession loss to the Vikings can be tailored as a positive for a Los Alamos team that only won 10 games last season.
    Closing out the Belen-hosted tournament with a win was key as Los Alamos improved to 4-2 on the season after the win.
    Timely Trujillo return: Los Alamos’ expected starting point guard made his season debut during the tournament’s opening round after missing the first three games due to a thumb injury. Antonio Trujillo adds needed depth for the Hilltoppers, who are approaching a tough three-week stretch where they’ll face Belen (the Hub City Tournament champion) twice and host St. Pius and Eldorado and will partake in the Poe Corn Tournament in Roswell.

  • LA girls hoops go winless in tourney

    The Los Alamos girls basketball team concluded the Joe Armijo Basketball Tournament in Albuquerque with two tough Class 6A Las Cruces-based opponents.
    After dropping the tournament opener to Cibola on Thursday, the Hilltoppers fell to Mayfield 54-20 in the consolation bracket on Friday. In the seventh place game on Saturday, Los Alamos dropped a 67-48 decision to Oñate.
    Friday’s game featured Mayfield senior Jayce Gorzeman, who’s verbally committed to play for the University of Portland. Gorzeman and company never allowed the Hilltoppers get in the game and gave Los Alamos its fourth consecutive loss.
    The Hilltoppers were more successful offensively on Saturday, scoring a season-high 48 points against the Knights. Los Alamos trailed 18-10 after the first quarter before outscoring Oñate 14-13 in the second quarter, cutting the Knights lead to 31-24 at halftime. Oñate then outscored Los Alamos 36-24 in the second half.
    The Hilltoppers fell to 3-7 after the last-place finish with a game against Hope Christian pending.