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Los Alamitos can't keep up with Great Oak

STAFF WRITER

TEMECULA - – How long does it take a high school basketball team to make 1,000 shots in a practice?

Great Oak of Temecula should know. The Wolfpack does it every day.

“It’s a little drill we do,” Coach Robert Hickey said. “A thousand makes. It takes about 15-20 minutes and it’s been helping us.”

On Tuesday night, lights-out shooting keyed Great Oak to a 96-68 victory over Los Alamitos in a CIF-SS Division 1AA semifinal before a near-capacity crowd at Great Oak High.

The victory sends the Wolfpack into Saturday’s championship at the Honda Center, a first for a Great Oak program that’s enjoyed a list of those this winter.

“Incredible,” Hickey said.

Great Oak (26-4) was led by the usual quartet: Torin Webb had 30 points, Latrelle Franklin had 16, including two quarter-ending buzzer beaters, Jacob Tryon had 15 and Brandon Presley had eight of his 13 in a fire-starting first quarter that put the visiting Griffins on their heels.

Webb added 11 in the opening quarter where Great Oak made 11 of 16 shots, including 5 of 7 3-pointers and led, 29-12.

“They hit shots, they made plays, they did what the needed to do,” Los Alamitos coach Eddie Courtemarche said. “They completely controlled the tempo from the very beginning.”

A 1-2-2 Griffins zone in the second quarter, designed to slow down the Wolfpack, had minimal impact. Great Oak still managed 22 points in the quarter for 51-27 lead in a half where it made 18 of 30 from the field.

“We’ve been shooting the ball the last part of league and into the playoffs really, really well,” Hickey said, attributing it to the practice drill. “When we shoot the ball like that, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

With junior guard Eyassu Worku scoring eight of his team-high 23, Los Alamitos (27-3) increased the intensity and made a run, cutting the deficit to 62-45. But Caleb Giordano made a 3-pointer and two free thows to end the 5-0 run and give the Wolfpack a 67-45 lead through three quarters.

“I’m emotional because it’s my last game at Great Oak,” Webb said, “but it's exciting to go to the Honda Center for the first time.”

The most Los Alamitos had allowed in a game all season came in an 82-72 victory over Huntington Beach Edison to end the regualr season.

Junior Pepe Garcia had 10 of his 12 points in the second half, the only other Griffin in double-figure scoring. Senior center Jack Kaub struggled from the field all game and fouled out in the fourh quarter with seven ponts and eight rebounds.

“We had a great season,” Courtemarche said. “In no way shape or form does this loss dimish anything we accomplished. A lot of people didn`t think we could get here. I thought we had an outside chance. I'm really proud of our guys.”

Contact the writer: jparenti@pe.com


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