• Boys’ basketball advances to district tournament semifinals

    All throughout the regular season, Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Kluk knew his team had enough talent to compete against any team. Now, in the district tournament, his team is proving it with an unlikely run to the semifinals. 

    LAHS finished the regular season with a district record of 2-6, good enough to earn the No. 4 seed and host the first round of the district tournament. LAHS easily dispatched Moriarty in the first round 64-53, then advanced to the quarterfinals and defeated Pojoaque 47-43.

    Monday night against Moriarty, the Hilltopper offense came out of the locker room on fire, building a 16-2 lead in the blink of an eye. 

    The team knocked down eight shots from the floor in the opening quarter, and was led offensively by Gavin Campos and David Owen, who both made great passes to set up opportunities and converted every opportunity that came their way. 

    LAHS extended its lead to 33-16 by halftime, as Campos scored 10 points and Owen added 8 points. 

  • Atomic City Update: All sports should be treated equal by high schools

    Here in Los Alamos, we do a great job of treating every sport equally and making sure the young men and women at the high school have a nice and memorable experience. Throughout my time in New Mexico, almost every school has been that way, and I have had a great time traveling around the state going to different events.

    That’s why it was so disappointing to see that Taos High School doesn’t treat every sport the same. When I went to a girl’s basketball game there Wednesday night, it was shocking.

    A couple weeks ago, I was in Taos for a boy’s basketball game, and the atmosphere was electric. The entire band was there, and they played the national anthem as well as songs throughout the game. The cheerleaders formed two full rows on one of the baselines. The Knights of Columbus presented the colors prior to the game. The PA system was so loud and enthusiastic I wouldn’t be surprised if people could hear it all the way here in Los Alamos. The game was on the radio and streamed on YouTube. It was perhaps the best atmosphere I have seen all year.

  • LAHS boys’ basketball drops Senior Night contest to Taos

    Throughout the season, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team has found a way to remain competitive. Even against the toughest opponents, the Hilltoppers are usually within striking distance in the second half. The issue has always been finishing the game. That theme continued on Senior Night at Griffith Gymnasium, as the Hilltoppers fell to Taos 67-54.

    This was the final regular season home game for LAHS seniors Gabriel Holesinger and David Owen, both of whom have played key roles for the Hilltoppers over the past four seasons.

    LAHS began the game strong, as junior Gavin Campos scored 11 points in the opening quarter. His efforts helped lead the Hilltoppers to a 19-17 lead heading into the second quarter.

    Taos’ Abdul Khweis was equally strong in the opening quarter, scoring 13 points.

    The second quarter was an entirely different story for the Hilltoppers, as the team failed to knock down a single shot from the field. The only two Hilltopper points came on a pair of free throws by Owen.

    On the other side, Taos took full advantage, outscoring LAHS 18-2 in the quarter to take a 35-21 lead heading into halftime. Khweis was the leading scorer at the break with 16 points.

  • Hilltoppers lose key district matchup to Española

    The road to the regular season district championship became much tougher for the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team over the weekend, as the Hilltoppers lost to Española Valley 46-44 inside Griffith Gymnasium. 

    LAHS is now in a tie atop the District 2-4A standings with Pojoaque Valley, as both teams now have one loss apiece. Heading into the final week of the regular season, both teams have 5-1 records. LAHS and Pojoaque will face off at 7 p.m. Friday inside Griffith Gymnasium. The winner of that game will be the regular season district champion and the top seed in next week’s district tournament. The loser will be the No. 2 seed in the district tournament. 

    The Hilltoppers had a chance to inch closer to the district title against the Sundevils, but had trouble getting into an offensive rhythm and controlling the game. 

  • LAHS wrestling wins District 2-4A championship

    For the second year in a row, the Los Alamos High School wrestling team is the district champion. The Hilltoppers defeated Española Valley, Moriarty, Pojoaque Valley and Taos Feb. 16 to claim the District 2-4A championship in front of a home crowd at Griffith Gymnasium. 

    One of the biggest factors that led to an LAHS victory was the team’s strength in numbers. The Hilltoppers had wrestlers in all 14 divisions, which no other team was able to accomplish. Taos was the closest with 12 wrestlers, while Española Valley brought eight wrestlers, Moriarty had nine competitors and Pojoaque Valley had five wrestlers. 

    The Hilltoppers claimed the district title with a total of 205.5 points, while Taos claimed second place with 176 points. 

    Moriarty was the third place team with 107 points. Española Valley was fourth with 83 points, while Pojoaque Valley finished with 59 points. 

  • Girls’ basketball defeats Taos, sets up showdown with Pojoaque

    Heading into the final game of the regular season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team still has a chance to earn the regular season district championship. Wednesday night in Taos, the Hilltoppers improved to 6-1 in District 2-4A, picking up a 55-43 win over the Tigers. 

    This was an important game for the Hilltoppers, as the team was coming off a tough 46-44 loss against Española Valley last weekend, the team’s only district loss to this point.

    In that game, only four players got into the scoring column for LAHS.

    The Hilltoppers equaled that mark in the first quarter against Taos, as the shots were dropping early. Becca Green picked up 6 quick points as the Tigers were unable to guard her under the basket. LAHS also knocked down a trio of three-point shots in the opening quarter, from Natalie Gallegos, Jenna Harris and Hannah Sanchez. 

    After the first quarter, LAHS led 16-10. 

    The lead grew to 15 points by halftime, as Taos failed to knock down a single shot from the floor in the second quarter. The Tigers’ only offense came from the free throw line, where the team went 3-6. 

  • Boys’ basketball earns district win over Moriarty

    Throughout most of district play, leading scorers Gavin Campos and David Owen have struggled to get involved in the offensive flow. Whether it was because of foul trouble or being double-teamed, the duo has not been as effective as in the early part of the season. That all changed Saturday night, as Campos and Owen combined to score 38 points in LAHS’ 55-41 victory over Moriarty. 

    The win marked the first district victory for the Hilltoppers since Feb. 20, 2017, a win over Albuquerque Academy in the district tournament. 

    Campos and Owen got involved early, both knocking down a three-point shot in the first quarter. 

    They also both drove to the basket with impressive moves, easily slicing through the Moriarty defense. 

    Thanks to their offensive output, along with a three-point shot by Sahib Khalsa, LAHS led 14-10 after the first quarter. 

    Moriarty switched to a matchup zone defense in the second quarter, and LAHS had a difficult time solving it. Much of the second quarter was spent with the Hilltoppers passing the ball around the perimeter, hesitant to take an outside shot. 

  • LAHS improves to 5-0 in district

    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 wrestling sweeps district duals

    In the first competition of the season against district opponents, the Los Alamos High School wrestling team dominated the District 2-4A duals, defeating every team that stood in its way. 

    LAHS took down Española Valley, Pojoaque Valley, Moriarty and Taos, with three of those wins coming in dominant fashion. 

    The Hilltoppers defeated Española Valley 60-24, Pojoaque Valley 72-12 and Moriarty 63-18. 

    The most compelling match of the day came against Taos, which LAHS narrowly won 42-40. 

    The match went down to the wire, but LAHS picked up just enough victories to earn the dual win. 

    Ben Gellis, competing in the 106-pound weight class, was one of the top standouts for the Hilltoppers, winning each of his four matches, including a highly important match against Taos. 

    Mateo Martinez, competing in the 195-pound weight class, was also impressive, winning each of his three contested duals. He also earned another victory by forfeit. 

  • Atomic City Update: Coaches should be applauded for how they handle tough seasons

    One of the toughest things for a coach to do is continue to keep the motivation of a team high during the tough times. Not every season can be a rousing success, but coaches who are able to keep a team fighting when the going gets rough are the most impressive.

    I have seen that quality this season out of Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Kluk. No, the season hasn’t gone as well as some might have hoped. But that team shows up every game ready to fight and make life as difficult as possible for the opposition. 

    The team was rewarded with a district victory last week over Moriarty. Some teams might have given up and stopped fighting long before that game. Even after that win, LAHS is only 6-17, but it is obvious they are playing for so much more than just a record. They are playing for pride, and they have a strong desire to keep fighting for each other and improving. 

    These kinds of rebuilding seasons happen at all levels of sports, and not everyone handles them with grace and class. At the professional level, coaches often lose their tempers and end up losing their jobs because things don’t go the way they expected.