Los Alamitos' Eyassu Worku goes up for a layup Tuesday against Orange Lutheran.

Los Alamitos knocks off No. 3 Orange Lutheran


LAKE FOREST – Los Alamitos boys basketball coach Eddie Courtemarche likes to see his team take little steps forward throughout the season.

He couldn’t mask his excitement Tuesday night after what he called “a leap” of progress with the Griffins’ latest victory.

Fourth-ranked Los Alamitos defeated No. 3 Orange Lutheran, 71-61, in an O.C. North/South Challenge game at El Toro High.

Eyassu Worku scored a game-high 35 points. The UC Irvine signee added nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Worku called the Lancers (8-2) the toughest team on the schedule for Los Alamitos (9-2).

The senior guard added that he expected the contest to challenge the Griffins’ ability to stay strong as a unit.

“Our coach told us at half that we needed to out-team their team,” Worku said. “They’re probably more athletic, more talented, but I think we had the better team today. We came together and got the win.”

Orange Lutheran led, 36-35, at halftime as KaVaughn Scott controlled the inside. Scott scored 12 points in the first half.

Tempers flared in the third quarter. Scott and Jordan Hurst picked up technical fouls for the Lancers. The second came off a Worku three-point play. He made the foul shot and added both technical free throws, giving the Griffins a 56-51 lead headed to the fourth quarter.

Scott, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, had two big blocks to spur Orange Lutheran in the fourth quarter. The Lancers briefly led by one after Zac Jervis made a layup and Ty Lassiter scored on a fastbreak.

The Griffins got surprise contributions down the stretch. Drew Platt blocked Scott with the Griffins leading, 62-59, with 3:14 to play. He later scored on a layup on a bounce pass from Connor Laines (eight rebounds, three steals), making it 64-59 with 2:24 remaining.

“Platt and Laines are big-time competitors,” Courtemarche said. “I know that when the game gets tough, those guys want to be in the game. They’re hard-nosed.”

Los Alamitos was superb at the free-throw line. The Griffins made all 17 of their free throws in the second half.

Also in the OC North/South Challenge:

Edison 65, Tesoro 54: Nate Matthews had 24 points, and Randall Walker added 14 as the Chargers (9-2) downed the Titans (5-6).

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