Last spring, when Bret Fleming got a look at the prospects for his Laguna Beach High boys’ basketball team, he said he had good but modest expectations for the 2008-09 season.
“When I saw what we had, I probably didn’t expect for this team to be as successful as it was, to be honest," he said. “These kids, though, really worked hard to achieve the season that they had. They took it as a challenge to continue the tradition that the program has had these past few years."
The 2008-09 season was full of superlatives: winning the Orange Coast League championship for a third straight year "” this time, by posting the first perfect league record (8-0) in the three-year history of the league "” and winning 21 games to make it three straight years that the program has won 20-plus games.
However, Laguna’s postseason hopes came to an end last Friday in Pasadena, where the No. 4 Breakers fell to No. 13 La Salle, 55-42, in a Division IV-A second-round game.
The Breakers had opened the playoffs Feb. 18 with a 58-43 home court win over El Segundo.
Ryan Lawler’s final performance for the Breakers (21-6) last Friday saw the senior guard pour in 21 points. Other seniors getting in on the scoring act were guard Dylan Roley (eight points), Christian Kesler (six points), guard John Palfreyman (three points) and guard Skylar Perkins (two points).
Junior guard Adam Selevan, who was ill and not at 100%, finished Laguna’s scoring with two points.
“We didn’t execute well offensively and they (La Salle) shot lights out," Fleming said. “It was a loud environment to play in, too. It was a tough one to lose."
Lawler was a four-year varsity player and Roley played varsity three years. They are part of a senior class that won 65 games over the past three years.
Lawler, Roley, Kesler, Perkins and senior Cody Duplisea, all started this year.
“It was a great group of kids who made a decision to invest the time and work hard, to reach the level of success they had," Fleming said. “This group also was very team-oriented. They really pulled for one another. There were no egos, no selfishness. It was really a fun group to work with. They really grew as a team since last spring."
MIKE SCIACCA covers sports. He can be reached at (714) 966-4611 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.