Los Alamitos' Cary Makiyama and Newport Harbor's Colin Pipkin race for a loose ball in the second period of a Sunset League game at Los Alamitos.

Los Alamitos seizes control of Sunset race


LOS ALAMITOS – Those who have watched Los Alamitos’ boys basketball team know the Griffins are capable of the flashy play.

But with their offense struggling in the first half against Newport Harbor on Friday night, the third-ranked Griffins had to find new avenues to gain separation.

Energy and hustle plays on the defensive end led to a big third quarter, and the Griffins defeated Newport Harbor, 59-44, to take sole possession of the Sunset League lead.

Eyassu Worku had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 steals to lead the Griffins (16-3, 3-0). Connor Laines scored 12 points, Pepe Garcia added nine, and Conner Goen had eight.

With league title ambitions of its own, Newport Harbor (16-4, 2-1) looked every bit the match for Los Alamitos in the first half. The Griffins held the slimmest of leads, 27-26, at the half.

Los Alamitos took over thanks to a difference-maker in the frontcourt. Reserve forward Jacob Eyman had three blocked shots in the third quarter, which helped the Griffins get their transition offense going. Los Alamitos outscored the Sailors, 15-3, in the third to open a 42-29 lead.

“If you’re staying up on me or Pepe, other guys can score,” Worku said. “Eyman, Cary Makiyama (six points), and Connor Laines, they all played great today.”

Eyman finished the night with game highs in blocked shots (five) and rebounds (nine). The Griffins had 15 steals to four for Newport Harbor.

The sophomore forward said Griffins coach Eddie Courtemarche called for more energy at halftime.

“He said, ‘Bring the energy, and feed off the crowd,’” Eyman said.

Zach Blaine and Brandon Phillips led the Sailors with 11 points each.

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