A fast start in its nonleague matchup against Dana Hills on Tuesday wasn't enough to propel the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team to victory.
Instead, the host Dolphins used a physical inside game in the second half to overcome the Breakers to produce a 53-47 victory.
The loss dropped Laguna, which was coming off a weekend performance at the La Quinta Tournament, to 3-2 overall.
The Breakers held an eight-point halftime advantage on the Dolphins, fell behind late and then missed a three-point shot in the waning moments that could have tied the score.
Dana Hills hit its free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
"I thought we played hard and shot well," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. "We were something like seven for 11 from three-point range. But in the second half we got pounded on the inside. They have a couple of 6-foot-8 kids and in addition, we made some mental mistakes down the stretch."
Marcus Hairston led Laguna in scoring with 11 points. Ryan Lawler was next with 11 points and Kevin Buck scored eight.
Previously to taking on Dana Hills, Laguna opened the season at the La Quinta Tournament. The Breakers began their season with a 46-39 tournament-opening win over Savanna. Three Breakers scored in double-figures led by Lawler's 14 points. Hairston and Buck each scored 11.
The Breakers then suffered their first defeat of the season in a 39-38 setback to Katella which won the game on a three-point shot at the final buzzer.
Lawler led the way with 15 points.
"We played poorly, pretty much across the board," Fleming said. "We had a lot of turnovers but despite it all, we led by two points with five seconds to go. We missed a free throw and they took the ball up court and hit that shot to win it."
Laguna bounced back to hand Saddleback a 55-49 defeat. The trio of Lawler (14 points), Buck (13) and Hairston (12) combined for 39 points.
Advancing to the tournament's fifth-place game, the Breakers routed Bolsa Grande behind 16 points from Lawler and 15 from post Kenny Sullivan.
Laguna returns to play Monday at the 16-team Garden Grove Tournament.
The Breakers will face Rancho Alamitos in a first-round game.
Laguna won last year's tournament, which had a 32-team field.
"I think that we have a good chance to compete for the title," Fleming said. "I'd like to see us get to the championship game."
? In girls' basketball
Laguna, which hasn't played since opening the season Nov. 27 against Beckman, returns to the court Monday for an away nonleague game at Sage Hill.
The Breakers will be looking for their first win of the season against the Lightning.