Scene from Thursdays game. Courtesy photo
By MORRIE PONGRATZ
Voice of the Hilltoppers
Thursday night the Hilltoppers Girls’ basketball team moved to 4-0 on the young season with a hard-fought 62-42 victory over the Belen Eagles.
The Toppers led by only 14-12 after the first quarter and only 30-25 at halftime.
Belen’s co-captain Sam Valdez kept the Eagles in the game scoring 13 of their 25 points by the half. Belen used a two-three zone to minimize drives to the basket by the Toppers. However, the Toppers refused to take the bait to try from the three point line and relied on their smothering full-court press for scores.
The game turned on a strong 3rd quarter performance by the Toppers, outscoring the Eagles by 22 to 5. A combination of a full court press and defending against Sam Valdez accounting for their success. After three periods the Toppers led 52-30.
The Toppers press led to a numbers of fouls and Coach Nestor Trujillo substituted freely in the fourth quarter to keep the first team members from fouling out. This allowed the Eagles to outscore the Toppers in the final period.
The Toppers were led in scoring by senior co-captain Kayla Salazar with 23 points. Co-captains Ashley Logan and Ashlynn Trujillo had 13 and 12 points respectively.
Ashlynn Trujillo had 9 steals off the press while Ashley Logan had 5 steals. Senior co-captain Makaela Jones led the Toppers in rebounding with 6. Sam Valdez finished with 21 points accounting for half of Belen’s scoring.
Next up for the Toppers is a home game with Volcano Vista this Saturday night. Check them out after the Winterfest parade!