LAGUNA BEACH "” Junior guard/forward Emily Writer scored a season-high 36 points as the Laguna Beach High girls’ basketball team used a strong second half to top Orange, 53-41, at home on Wednesday night.
Writer also had nine steals for the Breakers (3-6). Junior center Sam Garner added a strong all-around game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four blocks.
Coach Jon Hendrickson said it was probably his team’s most complete effort of the season.
“I thought coming into the season we had some athletes, and up until tonight we hadn’t put it together," Hendrickson said. “We’ve played passive, we’ve played poor. No energy, no hustle. But tonight, they put it all together. I was proud of their desire to compete."
Writer and Garner combined for 50 of the Breakers’ 53 points, as senior Grace Komoroczy added a basket and sophomore forward Holly Battle added a free throw. But there were clearly other contributors doing more than just scoring points.
“Emily and Sam are a tough two-man team," Hendrickson said. “When Sam plays aggressive, like she did tonight, they’re tough to beat. We have good complementary players, though, that’s the key. Grace really helps out with her athleticism and just desire to win. Holly’s our best defensive player and gets after it every night.
“Then you add a freshman starter, [guard] Lola Cowie. She’s not intimidated and really solidifies our team."
The Breakers outscored the visiting Panthers 16-4 in the third quarter to break the game open.
Writer, who scored a school-record 51 points in a game as a sophomore last year, was 16 of 27 from the free throw line.
She is averaging an even 20 points per game.
Hendrickson said his team finished fourth in the Orange Coast League last year and this year defending league champion Godinez, as well as Costa Mesa and Estancia, will all be tough opponents.
The Breakers played host to Saddleback Thursday and are in the Garden Grove Tournament beginning Dec. 26.
The Breakers were blanked at Corona del Mar, 4-0, in a nonleague match on Wednesday. Coach Patrick Coyne’s squad dropped to 2-4-1.
Junior Sam Stinnett is leading the team with four goals scored, and senior Ian Greene has three assists.
Laguna Beach plays host to Mater Dei at 6:15 tonight, then has a nine-day break before playing at the Mission Viejo Tournament beginning Dec. 28.
Laguna Beach got off to a rough start at the Orange Optimist Holiday Basketball Classic Tuesday, falling to Corona del Mar, 65-28, at Westminster High.
Senior Adam Selevan, the only returning varsity starter from a year ago, scored a team-high 11 points for the Breakers and sophomore Derek Reigel chipped in seven. The Sea Kings led, 25-6, after the first quarter.
“We’ve beaten three teams we should beat, and we’ve been blown out by Dana Hills and blown out by CdM," Laguna Beach Coach Bret Fleming said.
“We’ve looked really young. I just think we’ve got a lot of work in front of us. I don’t think we’re at a point yet that we’re as fundamentally sound as we need to be. We’re trying to build a better foundation with these guys and hopefully continue to improve."
Laguna Beach (3-3) continued in the tournament in the consolation bracket against Cypress on Thursday and also has games at the tournament today and Saturday.
The Breakers then will have a rematch against CdM at the Orange County North/South Challenge, at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at El Toro High.