LOS ALAMITOS - Over the weekend, the Los Alamitos High School boys basketball team won a second straight CIF-Southern Section championship, but on Tuesday, Arroyo Valley made sure the Griffins' trophy case would be locked for the remainder of the season.
Joseph Richard had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Darryl Weathersby scored 14 points as the Hawks used a big second half to beat the Griffins 61-53 in the first round of the CIF State Division I playoffs.
"We just quit playing and we quit attacking," Los Alamitos coach Russ May said. "You can't win state playoff games playing timid. It is very disappointing but at the same time, it has also been quite a ride. A lot of people didn't think we would even get to this point."
The Griffins (29-5) entered the state playoffs riding a 21-game winning streak after they upset top-ranked Redondo 67-50 on Saturday night to win the CIF-SS I-A crown.
And at the start of their game on Tuesday, it looked like they were going to extend their streak to 22 when they scored the first six points of the game en route to taking a 21-7 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, their lead grew to as many as 16 points when junior forward Corbin Moore scored a basket to give Los Alamitos a 31-15 lead with 1:59 left before halftime.
However, the Hawks (24-6) closed the quarter by going on an 8-2 run that was capped off by a dunk by Richard with eight seconds left that cut the Griffins' lead to 33-23.
Then in the third quarter, Arroyo Valley drew even closer when it outscored the Griffins 18-10 and by the fourth quarter, the Hawks only trailed 43-41.
"Once the first quarter ended, we went back to work on the defensive end and after that, they didn't get many good looks at the basket," Arroyo Valley coach Scott Smith said. "We take pride in our defense and in the second half, we didn't turn the ball over and we started to believe.
"We were out to prove that we belong in the state playoffs but don't get me wrong, Los Alamitos is a great team. They have a Southern Section title and we don't. I would still, even at this point, trade places with them in a second."
However that may be, it doesn't change the fact the Hawks outscored the Griffins 20-10 in the final quarter and 18-6 in the game's final five minutes to pull away.
After making only 4 of 17 free throws through the first three quarters, Arroyo Valley made them when they counted the most. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks made 5 of 7 to seal the win.
Moore, who scored 27 points against Redondo on Saturday, finished with 13 on Tuesday while Clint Amberry had 17 and Cameron Jones 14 to pace Los Alamitos.
"Once we were up big in the first half, we felt it was going to be easy the rest of the way and we didn't take them seriously," Moore said. "In the first half, we went by our game plan, which was attacking the basket, but in the second half, once we had a big lead, we settled for jump shots.
"I think that's what cost us the game and it's why they're going to the next round and we're not."