Last Saturday, two months after their first practice, Coach Mike Kluk’s Topper boys’ basketball team cast aside their “mythical” status and got to make their first appearance before the home faithful.
The 17th ranked Toppers fell to the 10th ranked Belen Eagles 70 to 50. The Eagles were smoking hot coming out of the gate leading the Toppers 26 to 10 after the first quarter.
The Toppers actually outscored the Eagles in quarters two and three and were only down 46 to 36 to begin the 4th quarter. However, the Eagles got their mojo back in the 4th quarter outscoring the Toppers by 10 and then freezing the ball with a four corners offense in the final minutes.
The Eagles had a balanced scoring attack led by 5-10 junior, Nick Trujillo’s 25 points.
Long range shooting was a difference in the game; Belen hit nine three-point shots to the Toppers four treys. Sophomore Jack Stewart continued his standout play for the Toppers with a team leading 21 points, 17 in the second half. Stewart also had 6 rebounds and 3 assists. The Toppers 6-5 junior, Adam Paulson, had 9 points and three blocked shots.
This coming week the Topper boys put a definite end their “mythical” status by playing three home games. They play host to Moriarty Thursday and Artesia Friday both varsity games scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 16, the boys play host to Gallup’s Miyamura team at 4 p.m. The 4th ranked Topper girls play host to the Taos Tigers Tuesday.