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Hilltopper Hoops Open 2018 With Big Win

on January 3, 2018 - 4:24pm
Antonio Trujillo scores to the basket for two points, which set the tone for the game as the Toppers score to a 65-32 victory Tuesday evening over the Pojoaque Elks in Griffith gym. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
 
Center Troy Hammock battles for a rebound under the Topper basket. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
 
Ramon Owen has a wreck with an Elk defender, who was cited for a block. Owen had a big game both on defense and offense and finished the game with a high of 14 points. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
 
 
By RJ Montaño
Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos Hilltopper Boys’ Basketball team opened the new year with a dominating 33-point win Tuesday night over visiting Pojoaque. The ‘Toppers cruised to a 65-32 victory over the Elk after taking sixth place in the Poe Corn Tournament last weekend in Roswell.

Pojoaque started the game utilizing a full court pressure defense, which Los Alamos handled with ease, jumping out to a 37-18 halftime lead. ‘Topper big man Troy Hammock led the way with 10 points, but he picked up his fourth foul of the game with just under a minute left in the first half. Hammock would sit out the third quarter and finish the night with 12 points.

Ramon Roybal led the ‘Toppers in scoring with 14 points, including a pair of NBA-range three point baskets. Gavin Campos chipped in 9 points on a pair of put backs while shooting 5-6 from the charity stripe.

Los Alamos seemed to get comfortable with their lead and didn’t play as crisp as they did in the first half.

“Sometimes you play to your competition … they were getting a little loose out there and got a little sloppy,” Head Coach Mike Kluk said about his team’s second half performance. “People were trying to do a little more than they’re used to and [picked up] turnovers.” The ‘Toppers would finish the game with 16 turnovers, four coming off charge calls.

Los Alamos had a balanced scoring attack with seven players scoring six or more points.

“We’re pretty sure teams in our district will try to face guard our main ball player, so for other players to be able to step up, we’ve been pushing that,” Kluk said about the balanced scoring from the ‘Toppers. “They did pretty good.”

Up Next

Belen makes a visit Friday, Jan. 5 to Griffith Gymnasium. Los Alamos was able to get a good look at the Eagles when they participated in the Hub City Tournament earlier this season. “Belen is a lot like us, when they’re on they are dangerous, but when they’re not, they’re average,” Kluk said about the upcoming game.

Poe Corn Tournament

Los Alamos finished the Poe Corn Tournament held at Roswell and Goddard High Schools in sixth place, but they were not playing at 100 percent. Several ‘Topper players caught an illness during the week and played sparingly, if at all. Some of the younger players were able to play valuable minutes, which will help down the road.

In the first game, Los Alamos let a large lead slip away against Artesia. “Turnovers hurt us bad,” Kluk said about the Artesia game. The ‘Toppers would pick up 20 turnovers in the game and only score 13 second half points to drop a 52-43 decision to the Bulldogs. The ‘Toppers also shot 1-13 from the three-point line. “You can’t blow a 15-point halftime lead,” Kluk added.

Los Alamos will get another chance at Artesia Jan. 12 when the Bulldogs make a trip to Griffith Gym.

The ‘Toppers won the second game of the tournament over the Farmington Scorpions by a final score of 56-50, putting Los Alamos in the 5th place game.

In the 5th place game against Gallup, the ‘Toppers jumped out to a quick nine-point first quarter lead. Los Alamos took a 32-28-halftime lead before Gallup stormed back with the help of a stifling defense and some debatable officiating to take down Los Alamos 57-51.

“It was a close game all the way. We had a couple eight-point leads we let get away,” Kluk said about the final game against the Gallup Bengals. “[Gallup] played aggressive and got some turnovers and ended up making a run at the end of the game.”

Troy Hammock takes a jump shot for 2 of his 12 points for the game. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

The topper defense was no match for the Elks at both ends of the court. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Guard Antonio Trujillo was under constant pressure the entire game, but the Elks were no match for his skills. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Gavin Campos was deadly from the 3 point mark with 12 points for the game. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Michael Naranjo was a force on both defense and offense. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Brandan Duran blocks a shot in the third period. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

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