Mattie Ruminer, a member of the girls basketball team, sings the national anthem before the start of the game between the ‘Topper boys basketbal team and the St. Michael’s Horseman played Friday night at Griffith Gymnasium. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
Ramon Roybal flies into a layup, past a Horseman defender, in the second quarter. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
By RJ MONTAÑO
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball team responded to what they considered an embarrassing loss to the Bernalillo Spartans with an impressive 73-61 trouncing of the St. Michael’s Horsemen Friday night.
The Horsemen started the game in a full court press that didn’t seem to bother the taller and quicker ‘Toppers. Los Alamos found ways to get the ball up the court with ease, quickly tiring out St. Mike’s. The teams were about to end the first quarter tied at 14 before Antonio Trujillo heaved a half court buzzer beating shot, banking it in for the 17-14 lead.
Los Alamos found their offensive groove in the second quarter, taking advantage of the Horsemen’s lack of size and building a 16-point halftime lead. It seemed like everything was falling for the ‘Toppers as they outscored St. Michael’s 30-14 in the last 8:01 of the first half. Los Alamos would take a 44-28 lead into the break.
The third quarter finished quickly with both teams scoring 12 points. St. Michael’s made one last push in the fourth quarter, but Los Alamos had an answer for every Horsemen run with the victory never in doubt.
“I thought they played with a lot of intensity,” head coach Mike Kluk said about his ‘Toppers performance. “We only had nine turnovers, which is our best [performance], even against a team that was trying to pressure us.”
When asked how his team handled the Horsemen pressure with ease, Kluk said, “We worked on it. I think, overall, after the embarrassment of Bernalillo, [our] seniors stepped up. So that was embarrassing, we’re not going to do that again, and they handled the pressure. They were moving more and that’s what we didn’t do at Bernalillo.”
Los Alamos had four players with double-digit points. The ‘Toppers were led in scoring by Trujillo with 23 points. Ramon Roybal chipped in 17, while Mike Naranjo added 12 and Gavin Campos had 10.
Up next for the ‘Toppers is the Belen Hub City Tournament where Los Alamos will have three games in three days. The tournament starts Thursday, Dec. 7.
Michael Naranjo is closely guarded under the ‘Topper basket. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com