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Lady Hilltoppers Win Second In District

on February 25, 2019 - 12:58pm

With the district championship on the line, the Topper girls played the Pojoaque Elkettes for the title in Griffith Gym Friday night. The teams were in a tie for the district championship and the winner would take all.  In they’re previous meeting played in Pojoaque, the Toppers won and were hoping to repeat at home. But the Elkettes came out strong and all but shut out the Toppers. The Toppers had the lowest scoring game of the season and the defense was not much better. As a result, the Toppers lost 35-48. Photo by John McHale/

The game was very physical, especially under the basket. Becca Green and Michaela Gonzales battle Camille Cordova for the ball under the Topper basket. Photo by John McHale/

And the battle continues under the Topper basket. Michaela Gonzales, Becca Green, Natalie Gallegos and Michaela Martinez all reach for the ball. Photo by John McHale/

Outdoor And Sports
Los Alamos Daily Post

It’s been two seasons since the Los Alamos High School Lady Hilltoppers were in a position to win a District 2-4A championship.

After back-to-back 6-21 seasons and a slow start to this season, the Hilltoppers turned things around when they began play in District 2-4a. Victories over Pojoaque Valley High School and Espanola Valley High School put the Hilltoppers on top of the District with a 5-0 record.

A 46-44 loss to Espanola Feb. 16 was the Hilltoppers first loss in District 2-4A. Los Alamos took on Pojoaque Valley Feb. 23 at Los Alamos in the last regular season game for both teams. The winner would claim the District 2-4A regular season title. The loser would fall into second place. The winner would also earn an automatic slot in the state basketball tournament. It’s been two years since Los Alamos made the trip to state.

Whether it was the pressure of playing for a district championship or the excitement of playing in such an important game so late in the season, the Hilltoppers came out tight and struggled to score. Pojoaque played poised and confident. The Elkettes built a 15-6 lead in the first quarter and extended their lead to 33-15 at halftime. It proved to be too high of a mountain for the Hilltoppers to climb. Pojoaque won 48-33 and claimed first place. The Elkettes will host the District 2-4A tournament championship game Saturday.

“I think we just wanted this game too much,” Los Alamos Coach Lanse Carter said. “We were too tight and tended to overthink things. When was the last time they were in a situation like this?”

Rebecca (Becca) Green led Los Alamos with 17 points, but struggled from the free-throw line. She sank just 1-of-7 attempts. As a team, the Hilltoppers were just 7-of-19 from the line. The other area where Los Alamos struggled was from the perimeter. In the earlier victory over Pojoaque, the Hilltoppers sank eight three-pointers. In this game, they made zero.

A glimmer of hope for Los Alamos may have been the opening basket by Green, who scored in the paint for a 2-0 Los Alamos lead. Pojoaque quickly erased that lead with an 8-0 run. The second quarter was highlighted by the play of Pojoaque’s Camille Cordova and Adriana Quintana. They each scored five points. Toni Aquino and Michaela Martinez both had wide-open, fast-break layups.

Los Alamos tried to comeback in the third quarter as the Elkettes suffered through one of the mysterious scoring drought that have plagued Pojoaque this season. After a 6-0 run that gave the Elkettes a 39-18 lead, Pojoaque didn’t score again in the third quarter. Los Alamos put together a 9-0 run that cut Pojoaque’s lead down to 39-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

Any optimism that may have inspired didn’t last long. Green was scoreless in the fourth quarter and although the Elkettes scored just nine points and had just 15 points in the second half, that was more than enough to hold off the Hilltoppers.

Quintana led Pojoaque with 12 points and Martinez scored 11 points for the Elkettes.

Despite the loss, Los Alamos has a good chance of getting into the Class 4A state basketball tournament for the first time in three years thanks to their second-place finish in the District 2-4A regular season. They are currently ranked 15th and 16 teams will be selected for state. Los Alamos will host the semifinal game of the District 2-4A tournament Thursday, most likely against Espanola.

Natalie Gallegos and Janee Montoya closely guard Camille Cordova in the second quarter. Photo by John McHale/

Hannah Montoya hits for three in the second quarter. Photo by John McHale/

Michaela Gonzales tries to get a shot off, but Camille Cordova closely guards her. Photo by John McHale/