Griffins keep pace for league lead

By Ted ApodacaThe Los Alamitos High girl’s basketball team went into its game with Marina looking to hang on to at least a tie for the Sunset League lead. They needed to make sure they took care of the third place Vikings in order to ensure keeping pace with Huntington Beach.The Griffins (7-1 in league) jumped out with an early lead and never let the Vikings challenge it as the Griffins came away with an 88-44 Sunset League victory on Friday at Marina High. The Griffins led 48-21 by halftime and Head Coach Rich Alvarez was able to go deep into his reserves by the end of third.With a young team, Alvarez wanted to make sure his team didn’t lose focus when after gaining control of the game. The Vikings came into the game with a 5-2 league record and looking to get into the league title race. Alvarez and the Griffins wanted to keep it a two-team race, while working on getting playoff ready. “I told them, don’t get caught up in the score, keep working on our stuff,” Alvarez said.One of the things Alvarez wants to see his team develop in as they head toward the playoffs is communication. The team needs to use a strong pressure defense and must be on the same page to be successful. The Griffins were led by sophomore guard, Cailyn Crocker with 25 points and junior forward, Olivia Clark with 10 against the Vikings. Freshman guard, Asia Avinger and junior guard, Kyra Webster each had nine points, while junior guard, Kalei Iwami, freshman guard, Sydney Gandy and junior center, Sam Richardson each chipped in eight. Marina Katie Nguyen led Marina with 14 points while Michelle Esparza and Sadie Atwood both contributed 10.With both freshman and sophomores starting, the Griffins are a young team, though Alvarez said he has seen the team grow throughout the year. A league title and playoff experience would likely provide even more growth. The Griffins finish the season on Wednesday with a home game against Fountain Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. They played at Edison on Monday. Huntington Beach closed out the season with games against Marina and Edison.

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