Los Alamitos misfires in loss to Long Beach Poly


LOS ALAMITOS – A hot season ended with a cold-shooting night for Los Alamitos.

The Griffins shot 27 percent from the floor, including 2 for 21 on 3-pointers, Tuesday in a 56-39 loss to Long Beach Poly in a CIF Division II Southern California Regional semifinal at Los Alamitos High.

Los Alamitos finished the season 25-7. The Griffins’ season included winning the Sunset League championship, in which they went 10-0; victories over the second- and third-place teams of the Trinity League, Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita, respectively; an invitation to the elite Open Division of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs; a No. 2 ranking in the final Orange County top 10; and the school’s second appearance in the regional semifinals.

Long Beach Poly (23-10) will play J.W. North of Riverside (30-4) in the Division II regional final Saturday at noon at Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State. North beat Orange Lutheran in Tuesday’s other Division II regional semifinal.

The end of Los Alamitos’ season also means the end of Griffins senior guard Eyassu Worku’s time as a high school basketball player.

Worku, a UC Irvine signee and a leading candidate for Orange County player of the year honors, scored a team-high 16 points Tuesday. Poly double- and triple-teamed Worku, who made just 7 of 27 shots. He was 0 for 9 on 3-point shots.

After Poly and Los Alamitos exchanged postgame handshakes, Worku and Los Alamitos coach Eddie Courtemarche embraced for several seconds, with Courtemarche then escorting the emotionally distraught Worku to the locker room.

Courtemarche, upon returning to the court, said, “I’ll never coach another player like him. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime player for me. He does it all, and the way he prepares himself, and the responsibility and pressure he shoulders for this team game in and game out is very commendable.”

Worku was averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game going into Tuesday.

Los Alamitos had a 33-26 lead early in the third quarter. Pepe Garcia, Los Alamitos’ second-leading scorer at 19 points a game, got his third foul and went to the bench. The Griffins then were outscored by the Jackrabbits, 13-3, who took a 39-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Poly outscored Los Alamitos, 17-3, in the fourth quarter. The Griffins missed their first 10 shots of the quarter in which they finished 1 for 18 from the floor.

Los Alamitos 6-foor-8 sophomore Jacob Eyman had a fine game. He scored 10 points, all in the first half, and had 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Garcia, a senior, scored 10 points.

Senior guard Zafir Williams led Poly with 16 points. Poly senior guards Drew Buggs and Harrison Bonner scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.

The Jackrabbits made 19 of their 55 shots. They were 4 for 11 on 3-pointers.

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