A win Wednesday sets up bigger things for the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team.
The Breakers retained a share of the lead in the Orange Coast League race by scoring its third-straight comfortable victory. They improved to 3-0 in league play and 14-6 overall by handling visiting Calvary Chapel, 54-38, at DuggerGym.
Laguna took a 12-11 lead after one quarter and started to pull away from Calvary (9-9, 1-2 in league) in the second and third quarters. The Breakers outscored the Eagles, 36-16, over that span.
They led by 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Jake Dalke led the scoring with 14 points. Senior guard Cole Kesler and junior forward Josh Adams each scored 12 points, junior forward Noah Blanton scored nine points to go with 14 rebounds, and junior guards Matt Jones and Garrett Wong combined for seven points.
The Breakers have played the last two games without starter Alec Wulff. The junior guard suffered an ankle sprain in a Jan. 9 league opener against Saddleback.
Laguna, which entered the week ranked No. 12 in CIF Southern Section Division 4-AA, won its fourth game in succession. The Breakers have won their three league games by an average of 33 points.
"I think that with the last week with a few blowout wins, it's been hard to judge how we are playing," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. "Overall, though, I think we are playing pretty well.
"Calvary came out well-prepared in that first quarter and, maybe, was a little better than our kids expected. They are a physical, strong team. But our guys responded to that early challenge and started to play well late in the first quarter."
They'll face their stiffest test of the league season Friday when they entertain Godinez at 7 p.m. The winner of the game will take sole possession of the lead in the league race.
The showdown figures to be a slow-down. That's the game pace favored by Godinez.
The Grizzlies on Wednesday scored a 44-35 win against Estancia to improve to 3-0 in league and 10-9 overall.
"They play a very disciplined style and try to force you into a slow game," Fleming said. "It's one of those deals where their philosophy is to take care of the ball and not turn it over, to work the clock.
"Our kids have to be very disciplined to play at the pace we're expecting. Our ability to defend an entire possession, to stay mentally focused, will be keys for us. On offense, we need to try to force our will a little bit. It should be an interesting game."
Laguna went to 2-0 in league play Jan. 11 by hammering host Estancia, 71-27. Nine Breakers went into the scoring column led by Blanton, who had a game-high 22 points. Adams scored 18 points, Dalke had eight points and Bryan Ludoff finished with seven points.
Next week, the Breakers play Wednesday at Costa Mesa to close out the first half of league action, and are at home Jan. 25 against Estancia. Both games tip at 7 p.m.
The Breakers returned to their winning ways Tuesday in Orange Coast League play.
Less than a week after suffering its first league setback at Estancia, Laguna roared back to claim a 45-20 win over visiting Calvary Chapel at Dugger Gym.
Jane Wallin had her short-range jumper going and led all scorers with 19 points. Laguna team captain Kylie Even hit four three-pointers and finished with 16 points.
The win moved Laguna to 2-1 in league and 14-2 overall.
"I was pleased to come away with the win, but it was not a pretty game for us," Laguna Coach Mark Lewis said. "A number of our players were out of sync and got in foul trouble, which forced us to mix up the rotations a lot. We didn't really get into a great rhythm tonight. We just slugged it out and endured for the victory.
"Kylie Even showed her senior leadership tonight. She stepped up for us offensively in the first half to give us enough separation to maintain and build the lead. She was also solid defensively and handled the ball at the point tonight for us. She had a nice overall game and the scoring, as I said, was huge for us in the first half."
The Breakers had suffered their first league setback Jan. 10 when they lost, 60-55, at Estancia. Jackie Cenan poured in 30 points but the Breakers turned the ball over 36 times and gave up 10 three-point baskets to the Eagles.
Laguna, ranked tied for No. 15 with Carpinteria and Santa Clara in the CIF Southern Section Division 4-A poll, played Godinez Thursday, but the score wasn't available at press time. The Breakers end the first half of league play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Costa Mesa. They also are on the road Wednesday for a 6 p.m. nonleague game at St. Margaret's, and resume OCL play Thursday with a 7 p.m. home game against Estancia.
"Next week is also a big week for us as Costa Mesa will be scrappy and we will have to be ready for their constant pressure," Lewis said. "And the rematch against Estancia in our gym should be a great game and I look to us to reduce our turnovers and limit their three-point attempts.
"Those two games are big league games for us and their outcomes will begin to shape the final standings for league and CIF seeding."