Worku makes sure Los Alamitos stays alive


LOS ALAMITOS Los Alamitos’ boys basketball team had been idle so long, its return Wednesday night felt like the 2016-17 season for Coach Eddie Courtemarche.

“It felt like it was the beginning of the new season,” he said.

The Griffins were thankful it wasn’t. They still had point guard Eyassu Worku to keep the season alive.

The UC Irvine-bound senior scored a game-high 23 points and added nine assists and three steals to lead Los Alamitos to a 67-58 victory against visiting Poway in the first round of the CIF Southern California Division II Regionals.

Worku’s fadeaway jumper off the dribble from about 15 feet and his distribution to teammates helped the Griffins (24-6) overcome some rusty foul shooting in their first game since they lost to Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth in the first round of the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs on Feb. 19.

Los Alamitos also got 16 points from Pepe Garcia.

“We haven’t played in two weeks, and we showed moments like we haven’t played in two weeks,” Courtemarche said.

“We weren’t as sharp as we’ve been in the past. … But hey, we’ll take and we’ll move on.”

Los Alamitos will play host to Santa Margarita on Saturday in a second-round game. Santa Margarita was a 73–58 winner against Mission Bay of San Diego.

“It obviously a big game – public versus private,” Worku said of playing Santa Margarita.

Cary Makiyama and Connor Laines made Los Alamitos’ first two 3-point attempts – on assists from Worku – to send the Griffins on a solid night from beyond the arc. They made 10 of 31 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.

Los Alamitos struggled at the foul line, making 5 of 12 attempts in the second half.

The Griffins held a lead at halftime, 31-26.

Two steals early in the third period by Makiyama and a put-back on a rebound by Jacob Eyman (eight rebounds) sparked a 6-0 run that forced a Poway timeout and put the Titans (24-9) on their heels.

Eli Hamson and Zach Reiter paced Poway with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Eyman, a sophomore, added a block early in the third and Worku made his first two 3-pointers later in the period to give the Griffins more breathing room.

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