Los Alamitos Ready Behind Brucculeri!

"The kids wanted to be tested, they wanted to be challenged." Los Alamitos Head Coach Russell May said...

That explains a little, their league record will explain a lot more. The Griffins knocks off Edison Friday to win their first conference game and run their overall record to 11-5. Not spectacular, but considering who they have played Los Alamitos brings a lot of confidence into conference play.

Two losses to Santa Margarita and a loss to fourth ranked Dominguez aren't black eyes on any teams schedule, but May believes those losses have helped. "The losses have motivated us. Nobody hangs their head; we're back in the gym getting better. Our league is filled with great coaches and great teams, and these out of conference games have gotten us ready for league play."

There is no clear-cut favorite in the Sunset League, but Esperanza and Marina join Los Alamitos as the teams to watch. Coming into the Edison game Coach May knew this was no easy win. "Edison will shoot 25 to 30 threes a game, and that's always scary, because if they are hitting, there's not much you can do to stop them." Edison wasn't hitting, and the Griffins took their first league contest easily putting up 68 points in a 19 point win.

6'7" senior Kyle Brucculeri, a phenomenal outside shooter who signed with UC Davis during the early signing period leads Los Alamitos. May thinks UC Davis will be as happy with Kyle as Kyle is with the school, calling it a "perfect fit." Brucculeri brings size to a Griffins team that needs it, and court smarts to a team that likes to maximize its opportunities.

And Brucculeri has found himself a pupil to mentor in 6'0" sophomore guard Landry Fields, a player Coach May thinks may develop into one of the best in state. "I don't think Landry has even hit his growth spurt yet. His father is 6'8" and his mother is 6'1" so there's definitely some indication he's going to get bigger, but what I like about Landry is that he's a perfect student and a perfect player to coach."

As the only sophomore on the varsity Fields has earned the respect of his coaches, his teammates, and Brucculeri. "If I'm going to bring an underclassman up to the Varsity level I feel I have an obligation to give him minutes, and Landry has earned his." May said, "I think Kyle sees a little bit of himself in Landry. He never backs down from a challenge, and he understands that this is Kyle's team. Landry really makes my job fun, I'm looking forward to watching him develop over the next three years."

Height will be an issue all year for Los Alamitos, as Brucculeri, Andy Hogan (6'6") and Josh Cheek (6'5") are the only players over 6'3" on the Varsity. Santa Margarita's front line runs 6'11", 6'8"; 6'6" and the Griffins were exploited down low in both their matchups with the 16-2 Eagles this season. With Los Alamitos heading into League play now the team seems to be coming together at the right time. Fields, Cheek and senior guard Darryl Morris have stepped up to become legitimate threats on the offensive side of the floor, and with Brucculeri the Griffins really only need one or two others to be successful.

"If we play smart we can play with anyone in our League," May said, "and right now we are playing smart basketball."

James Renwick

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