May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Los Al gets elusive tourney title with win over Chaparral at Tustin Classic

Los Alamitos players celebrate after capturing the championship at the Tustin Classic Thursday night. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Los Alamitos boys basketball team accomplished its goal of capturing a tournament title Thursday night defeating Chaparral 41-36 in the championship game of the Tustin Classic.

Los Alamitos was led by tournament MVP Tyler Matthews, who had 15 points. Teammates Daniel Mellgoza and Christian Bermudez were named to the all-tournament team.

“We lost in a championship game in a tournament to start the year,” said Los Al Coach Nate Berger. “We had set that as a goal this year so to go through that failure in the first tournament and respond here was a pretty good feeling for the staff, the players and everyone.

“I thought we had a lot of heart in the game, I thought it showed with loose balls, defense and rebounding and ultimately I think that’s why we won.”

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Los Al (12-4) also got a strong effort from Kaden Kent, who scored 10 points. Mellgoza had six points and Bermudez five points.

Chaparral was led by Maur Tablada, who scored 14 points and Lewis Singleterry IV, who had 11 points. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.

The Griffins led 22-17 at halftime and 31-28 after three quarters.

Chaparral (11-3) cut the lead to one at the start of the fourth quarter but Los Alamitos finished strong, moving out to a 41-36 on a basket by Matthews with 1:23 left in the game.

Chaparral had chances to cut the lead, but could not convert and the Griffins got to celebrate.

“It feels great, I put a lot of work in off the court and it feels good that it pays off,” Matthews said. “But my coach does a great job of putting in a system for all of us to work together and my teammates set me up and give me great passes.”

And the Griffins had extra incentive.

“That was definitely a motivation coming into this game,” Matthews said. “We fell short against Mira Costa and we didn’t want to feel that again and we definitely came out a lot more energetic and motivated to really stop these guys in their tracks and win this game.”

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com