Griffins fall at Thanksgiving Showcase

KJ Carr drives around a Santa Monica defender. Photo by Ted Apodaca

After a starting the game on a cold shooting streak, the Los Alamitos High boys basketball team battled back but fell short in overtime to Santa Monica High, 74-68 at the Edison High Thanksgiving Showcase on Friday at Edison High.

Senior forward Niko Griset led the Griffins with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Daniel Mellgoza had 12 points, including eight in the first quarter when the Griffins could only muster 11 as a team. Tyler Matthews also had 12 points, including going 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Griffins trailed 14-11 at the end of the first quarter and 33-26 at halftime. The Vikings extended the lead to 48-38 in the third, but the Griffins closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut it to 50-46 heading into the fourth. Griset grabbed a rebound and drew a foul on the putback. He hit the free throw to cut the lead to 50-49.

When Matthews and Jake Petroff converted four consecutive free throws, the Griffins held their first lead, 55-54 with 5:41 left in the game. Los Al held the lead most of the way and took a 62-59 lead after two free throws by Griset with just under two minutes to play.

But with :12 left, Santa Monica guard Gus Salem hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime. Overtime was defensive battle, but a baseline three-pointer, a free throw and jumper by leading scorer A.J. Economou put the Vikings up 70-64 late in overtime as Santa Monica was able to secure the game.

The Griffins are scheduled to play at Wilson High in Long Beach today at 6:30 p.m. and will then open the Corona del Mar Beach Bash Tournament on Monday at 7 p.m. against Redondo Union.