Los Al girls dominate league for second title

Pictured, front row, left to right: Maya Asumbrado, Lexi Kyriakos, Kassidy Beach, Megan Lee, Kayli Liew, and Sammi Nakahara. Back, left to right: Coach Maya De Anda, Mikayla Aguayo, Katie Nakagawa, Tam Yoshida, Ava Duarte, Bryn Pagett, Denvur Ramirez, Maddie Norberg, and Assistant Coach Ava Yale.

The Los Alamitos girls basketball team swept its way to a back-to-back Surf League championship by overwhelming Corona del Mar, 67-28, on January 31 to finish league play with a 6-0 record, dominating league opponents by an average of 40 points per game.

Ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division 2A, and riding an 11-game win streak, the Griffins (23-5) will play the first round of CIF Southern Section playoffs against Pioneer (12-16) at Los Alamitos on Thursday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m.

Pioneer finished third in the 605 League with a 6-4 record, ending the season on a three-game winning streak.  MaxPreps ranks Pioneer No. 30 in Division 2A.  The game will be a rematch from last year’s second round, when the Griffins suffered a close 48-51 loss.

In the resounding 39-point win over the Sea Kings (13-14), eight Griffin players scored, led by senior center Kassidy Beach with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots, sophomore guard Tam Yoshida with 13 points and 6 steals, and senior point guard Kayli Liew with 12 points and 4 assists.

Graduating Seniors (l to r) Megan Lee, Sammi Nakahara, Kayli Liew, and Kassidy Beach.

The Griffins had already locked up at least a co-championship with an earlier 73-35 victory over Edison (7-21), on January 29, which also was the Los Alamitos “Senior Night” celebration of four graduating players: Beach, Liew, guard Megan Lee, and guard Sammi Nakahara.

Each of the honored seniors helped pave the way to victory over Edison by scoring in double figures; Beach scored 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 6 steals, Lee also scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, Liew had 13 points and 8 assists, and Nakahara added 12 points and 3 assists.  Junior Bryn Pagett grabbed 14 rebounds.

For the six-games of league play, the Griffins’ per-game leaders are Beach with 16 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 4.3 steals, Liew with 14.7 points and 4.5 assists, Yoshida with 12 points and 3.2 steals, and Lee with 9.8 points and 2.7 assists.

Last season the Griffins were co-champions with Corona del Mar, both finishing with 5-1 league records, but this year the undefeated Griffins are the sole champions, followed by the Sea Kings at 3-3.

“It’s great to get back-to-back championships,” said coach Maya De Anda. “I’m proud of the team and very happy for them, but now we have to turn our attention to the CIF playoffs.”

Last season, the Griffins won the first-round game of 3AA playoffs by defeating California 46-37 before losing to Pioneer in the second round.

The Griffins also had success this season in three non-league tournaments in November and December, winning two Runners Up trophies at the El Toro and Valley Christian tournaments and winning the Championship trophy at the Elks Classic Tournament at Segerstrom High.  At El Toro, Yoshita made the All-Tournament team, and at Segerstrom, Beach was named tournament MVP.