The New Southern California Basketball
SoCal High School & Prep Report

High School Preview: Sunset League
Los Alamitos--(December 4,1997)

Los Alamitos is a great team this year. The only real question is whether they can be as good or better than last year's squad. In 1996-97, Los Alamitos compiled a 23-4 overall record, going undeafted at 10-0 in Sunset League play. They beat Edison, Esperanza, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Marina each twice last season, and they're hoping to do it again this year. They lost last season to Long Beach Wilson in the first round fo the Souther Section Division I-AA playoffs 61-51.

They are coached by Steve Brooks, who is in his 17th year. Brooks has compiled a 288-128 win-loss record in that time, and he says he's really unconcerned with winning. He does, however, want his players simply to give it their best shot. That's why Los Alamitos is going to go up against one of the toughest teams in the nation, coached by the high school coach with probably the best record ever, Morgan Wootten. Brooks likes to quote John Wooden, and does so often. " Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming." Sounds a bit like "Hoosiers". But that's because Wooden's from Indiana, and Hoosiers is, after all more than just a movie.

Los Alamitos was ranked third in the preseason Orange County poll, Sixth in the Orange County Register's list of Top 10 teams in the county, and they will be tested early and often. "We really have a nice mix of old and new players this season," Brooks says of this year's squad. "We are more versatile than last season with more weapons and better leadership" says Brooks.

Los Alamitos returns both Sunset League co-MVP's, Matt Komer and Rick Garibay. Komer was named to the All-CIF team and the All-Orange County team last year. Interestingly, basketball is not even his primary sport: He's signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball for UCLA next year. He's 6'-7". . .hmmm. Maybe that's why Lavin's not really panicking about not being able to sign 6'-8" Tayshaun Prince. Maybe Komer will walk on. Who knows.

The roster this season includes:

Katt Komer (6'-7" Sr. F)
Rick Garibay (5'-10" Sr. G)
Enrique Phillips (5'-10 Sr. G)
Jeff Grgas (6'-7" So. C)
Ryan Ellis (6'-5" Sr. F)
Joel Haas (6'-2" Sr. G/F)
Ron Prettyman (6'-2" So F)
Nathan Lee (6'-3" Sr. F)

The team leaders will definitely be Komer and Garibay. Matt Komer scored 13.4 points per game last season, and also averaged an amazing 8.7 rebounds per game Ricardo Garibay averaged 10.8 points and made 53 three-pointers. Ryan Ellis is considered to be the "dark horse" candidate for team leader also. Ellis played JV last year because there was no room on the varsity, and excelled last season. "It would have been selfish to keep him on the varsity so he could ride the bench," Brooks says. "He took it well and developed into an outstanding shooter with an uncanny ability to put the ball in the basket."

Jeff Grgas, will start at center and Jass and Prettyman provide good depth off the bench. Also back is 5'-9" guard Enrique Phillips, who will start at the point. The newcomers to the varisty this year include forwards Ryan Ellis and Jeff Grgas, swingmen Joel Haas and Ron Prettyman and guard Ryan Keller. Senior transfer Nathan Lee is a 6-3 swingman, who will also see some time off the bench.

Brooks believes this team is good, but he just doesn't know how good they will be until they're tested. DeMatha should be the litmus. They'll play Morgan Wooten's team in the Wooden Invitational. "I remember being impressed with the program," Brooks says of DeMatha. This game will be a rematch of a 1990 game between the two teams in which DeMatha defeated Los Alamitos by 11 points, 73-62. "I am looking forward to again facing such a well-coached team," says Brooks.

We'll be looking forward to it also. Expect Los Alamitos to give DeMatha a run for it. And expect Los Alamitos to win their league, go deep into the Southern Section playoffs, and to contend for a CIF Championship.

The Swish Award

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