Newport Harbor's Andrew Laidlaw tries to stop Pepe Garcia's drive to the basket for Los Alamitos on Friday.

Los Alamitos' depth too much for Newport Harbor


NEWPORT BEACH – Los Alamitos got the win Friday night, but the Griffins had to do it Newport Harbor’s way.

The Sailors were determined to put a cap on Los Alamitos standout guard Eyassu Worku, and did as good a job as anyone has this season, holding the senior to 19 points and only five field goals, four of them coming in a three-minute burst in the second quarter.

But Worku’s teammates’ made clutch shots when they were needed, including six 3-pointers, to lead the Griffins to a 52-45 win at Newport Harbor.

Pepe Garcia scored 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and Connor Laines had a pair of 3-pointers among his 10 points for Los Alamitos (21-3, 8-0 Sunset League). Cary Makiyama also made a 3-point shot.

Charlie Stassel led the Sailors (20-6, 5-3) with 18 points, aided by Brandon Phillips (11) and Nate Harding (10).

“We’ve had games this season where teams double- and triple-(team) Eyassu, so we spend a lot of time making sure his teammates can step up when that happens,” Los Alamitos coach Eddie Couetemarche said.

“We thought we matched up well and tried to take Eyassu out of the game,” Sailors coach Bob Torribio said. “We did that, but they’re the number two team in the county for a reason. They won it on the shots we wanted them to take.”

Laines and Garcia hit 3-pointers on two straight possessions to give Los Alamitos a 26-21 halftime lead.

The margin remained 10 at the start of the fourth quarter when Stassel led the Sailors on an 8-0 run cut the lead to 41-39. After Garcia missed a shot, Newport was moving down court when the ball took a crooked bounce and back into Garcia’s hands.

He didn’t waste the moment, sinking a 3-pointer to shift the momentum back to Los Alamitos. Eyassu and Laines added 3-pointers to put the game away.

“We knew we had to key on him and we did a pretty good job,” Stassel said. “It took their whole team to beat us.”

Los Alamitos had a quick turnaround after the game. The Griffins, who are on the CIF-SS Watch List for a berth in the Open Division playoffs, face Fairfax today (2:45 p.m.) in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

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