As if there wasn't enough already riding on the outcome of Wednesday's Orange League girls' basketball game at Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach was to face a veteran Mustangs team that was celebrating Senior Night.
Well, the Breakers put a damper on the party by scoring a 38-36 victory in a defensive battle that allowed them to wrap up sole possession of second place in the final league standings.
Laguna finished league play 8-2, one game behind champion Estancia (9-1). The Breakers also moved to 18-8 overall, and are only one win shy of tying the school single-season record for victories (19).
That record was set last year when the Breakers posted a 19-6 record.
They have an opportunity to hit that mark next week in postseason play.
Costa Mesa, which would have moved into a tie for second place with Laguna with a victory Wednesday, finished third with a 6-4 record.
The Breakers led by nine (28-19) at halftime and led by 10 (33-23) going into the fourth quarter where they held on for the two-point triumph.
"Though we made a few untimely turnovers in the final stages of the game, we followed those with key stops on the defensive end and heads-up ball security in the final 30 seconds to preserve the victory," Laguna Coach Mark Lewis said.
Sophomore guard Jackie Cenan led the Breakers in scoring with 21 points. Sophomore guard Alexandra Lewis hit two three-point shots and ended with seven points, sophomore guard Francesca Cecutti and freshman guard Nicole Davidson each had four points, and senior center Jane Wallin scored two points.
In a league game Monday at Dugger Gym, Laguna cruised to a 61-26 victory on its Senior Night to secure an automatic bid to next week's CIF Southern Section playoffs.
"The Calvary win was a good win," Lewis said. "It's always good to get the ones you're supposed to. We had four girls in double figures in scoring, three in double figures in rebounding. We limited our turnovers and took care of business."
Laguna also had defeated visiting Godinez, 67-52, Feb. 6 to complete a season sweep of the Grizzlies. Cenan torched the nets for 41 points. Cecutti scored 13 points, Wallin seven and Lewis six points.
In the first meeting between the teams at Godinez Jan. 23, the Grizzlies focused on shutting down Cenan, and they did just that, holding her to three points. But Wallin turned in a big first half and finished with 16 points, and Lewis scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, as the Breakers came out with a 43-28 victory.
In the second matchup Feb. 6, Godinez tried to slow both Wallin and Lewis. That defensive strategy allowed Cenan to break free and score a career-best 41 points. Cenan made 16 of only 22 shot attempts, tying the school record for most field goals made in a single game, Mark Lewis said.
Cenan, who also was nine of 13 from the free-throw line, had 29 of Laguna's 38 first-half points.
"She was scoring on slashing drives to the basket and fast-break layups on passes up court from her teammates," Lewis said.
Lewis said Cecutti "came alive with her inside scoring at critical junctures," and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds in "one of her best outings of the season."
"Francesca has been coming on strong in the latter-half of league," Lewis said. "Her offensive contributions combined with good defense and rebounding adds another dimension to the schemes as we head into CIF."
Laguna will learn of its postseason status Sunday when the CIF Southern Section girls' basketball playoff pairings are released. Division wild-card games are Tuesday and first-round games are Feb. 22.
The Breakers retained the Orange Coast League championship banner and earned another outright title Tuesday when they routed host Calvary Chapel, 69-36. A 24-6 advantage by the end of the first quarter sent the Breakers on their way to their ninth league win in as many games, and 20th of the season.
"We came out and played really well in both the first quarter and second quarter," Coach Bret Fleming said. "It was a real balanced win."
Senior guards Alec Wulff and Noah Blanton both scored 16 points, senior forward Josh Adams scored 15, and senior guard Matt Jones and sophomore guard Isaac Wulff both had six points as the Breakers improved to 20-5 overall.
The Breakers also registered a 20-point win, 58-38, over Godinez on Senior Night Feb. 7 at Dugger Gym. Adams poured in a game-high 21 points, Blanton scored 18 and Alec Wulff 13 points.
Laguna, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division 4AA, closed out its league and regular season Thursday at Costa Mesa. The score wasn't available at press time.
The CIF Southern Section boys' basketball playoff pairings will be released Sunday. Division wild-card games are Wednesday and first-round games are Feb. 21.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Boys' basketball: Laguna Beach (No. 8, Division 4AA).