A big lead and a complete team effort, have set up a big Orange Coast League game for the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team.
The Breakers had little trouble with visiting Calvary Chapel at Dugger Gym and with their entire roster contributing, they rolled to a 71-57 victory in Orange Coast League action Wednesday.
Laguna blitzed the Eagles early and took a 29-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, and still maintained a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter. Coach Bret Fleming inserted all of his players in the game's final six minutes.
"It was nice to be able to have the opportunity to do that," Fleming said. "We play such a tough preseason and don't usually have the opportunity to get everybody playing time. When we do get the opportunity, I think it strengthens our bench and gives everyone meaningful playing time."
Senior forward Josh Adams led the scoring with 24 points. Senior guard Matt Jones, who was injured during the third quarter, had 11 points, and senior guard Alec Wulff scored 10 points.
Senior guard Noah Blanton, playing on a sore ankle, and sophomore guard Isaac Wulff both had nine points, and senior guard Bryan Ludloff finished the scoring with four points.
"We did a great job of passing and moving the ball early and then cruised to the win," said Fleming whose Breakers, the No. 9-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 4AA, ran their league record to 3-0 and overall mark to 14-5.
Laguna is on the road Friday for a key, 7 p.m. league game at Godinez. Next week, the Breakers play host to Costa Mesa at 7 p.m. to complete the first half of league play.
Godinez improved to 2-1 in league Wednesday by defeating Estancia, 56-49.
"Godinez is a big game on Friday and we're a little banged up, so we'll have to play great team basketball and really defend," Fleming said.
The Grizzlies (15-5 overall), who in past years have run a deliberate, slow-paced offense, are led by 6-foot-4 junior guard Brandon Smith who is averaging 16 points a game.
"He's a pretty good talent," Fleming said of Smith. "[Godinez has] always been a time-consuming offense, holding the ball and running down the [shot] clock. This year, though, they have been a little more open on offense. They also do a real nice job defending on defense.
"We need to come into this game with the mindset of continuing to grind and it's a game where we will need to be steady throughout. We know it's not going to be a game where there are a lot of runs."
In its first home game of the season Jan. 16, Laguna withstood a second-half comeback attempt by visiting Estancia to score a 53-47 victory. Four Breakers hit double figures with Alec Wulff leading the way with 15 points. Senior guard Matt Jones had 13 points and Adams and Blanton 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Through 19 games, Alec Wulff is averaging 17 points per game, Blanton 9.4 rebounds, and Ludloff four assists.
The Breakers went to 2-1 in Orange Coast League play Tuesday by cruising past host Calvary Chapel, 61-22.
Laguna was in complete control by halftime where they led, 35-6.
Sophomore guard Jackie Cenan topped the scoring with 29 points and senior center Jane Wallin also was in double figures with 16 points. Rounding out the Laguna scoring was sophomore guard Alexandra Lewis with eight points, sophomore forward Francesca Cecutti had four points, and freshmen guards Nicole Davidson and Rachel Kenney each had two points.
Laguna improved to 12-7 overall.
"Our defensive pressure created turnovers which we converted to quick baskets," Laguna Coach Mark Lewis said. "We were dominant inside and Jackie [Cenan] had a strong game driving, slashing, and finishing strong at the basket.
"Good win on the road. Always good to get road wins and win the ones you are supposed to win. Our big push starts Thursday at Godinez. That will be a good game and a key game for us to contend for league."
Laguna played at league foe Godinez Thursday. The score wasn't available at press time.
The Breakers were handed their first league loss Jan. 16 in a 48-47 home setback to Estancia. The Breakers trailed, 30-23, at the half but behind strong defensive pressure in the third quarter, cut their deficit to two points (35-33) going into the final eight minutes.
The Breakers were down a point when they came up with a key turnover and drew a foul with 16 seconds left in the game. Both free-throw attempts rimmed out, however, and Estancia held on for the win.
Cenan and Wallin both had 15, points. Lewis scored eight, Cecutti seven, and Davidson two points.
Mark Lewis said his team's defensive effort in the second half allowed the Breakers to change the game's momentum.
He called the setback an "unfortunate loss."
"It was a good game, but probably one we let get away from us," he said.
Next week, Laguna plays host to Costa Mesa at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and starts the second half of league play with a 7 p.m. game Thursday at Estancia.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Boys' basketball: Laguna Beach (No. 9, Division 4AA).