Home Sports Local Sports Artesia knocks Los Alamos off the hilltop

Artesia knocks Los Alamos off the hilltop

Jeff Houghtaling, head coach of the Artesia High girls’ team, conducts a practice session earlier this year. The Lady Dogs went 2-0 during their final home series of this year. Friday Artesia travels to Carlsbad. “We go down there and beat them, that’s fantastic. But if we don’t, we’re gonna work at getting better,” he said after Saturday’s win over Los Alamos. (Mike Smith Photo)

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ARTESIA — “Great win for us.”

That was the way Jeff Houghtaling head coach of the Artesia High girls basketball team summed up Saturday’s 59-44 win over Los Alamos.

“That is a quality team that has played a lot of good tough teams,” he said.

Artesia (4-2) had an 18-10 lead over the Hilltoppers (4-9). The majority of the Lady Dogs points were from downtown in the opening frame.

Junior Kyrah Gonzales had 9 points from long range for the home team and senior Alexa Riggs had 6.

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The second quarter was a different story as Los Alamos outscored the home team 20-8. The Hilltoppers had a 30-26 lead at intermission.

The break helped Artesia as the team had a 42-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, outscoring Los Alamos 16-7. Field goals and free throws were the Lady Dogs’ best friends in the opening period of the second half.

In the final period, Artesia outscored the opposition by a 17-7 count, coming away with the victory. Senior Stacia Martinez and Gonzales went downtown again for the home team.

“It was a tale of two halves shooting-wise,” Houghtaling said.

“We were able to hit a few shots right away,” Houghtaling said of the opening period of play. “Kind of cooled off in the second quarter, at halftime we talked about it, when we miss some(baskets) we need to attack the basket and make the goal look bigger and build our confidence up.”

In the third period, Houghtaling said, “our plan was to try and get the ball in the paint and get some easy buckets.”

Gonzales was the leading scorer with 13 points and senior Gracie Puentes had 12 points in the win.

Artesia is off until Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. when they hit the road to face their in-county rival Carlsbad.

Houghtaling said the team will be in for some major practice time between now and game day.

“The girls are in for some real tough days,” he said.

He said they will be looking at past videos, “I challenged them today to make each other better and practice every day and so we’re gonna get after it.”

“Carlsbad is a really good team and that’s the opportunity for us to get better,” Houghtaling added.

After Christmas, Artesia hits the road Dec. 28-30 at a tournament in Los Lunas. Artesia returns home Jan. 2 with a contest against Portales.

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