The Riverside Mavericks traveled a long way to Laguna Beach High School to play the Laguna Beach Breakers on Saturday, and they displayed their skills in the boys’ eighth-grade All-Net game.
Riverside dominated the game with some epic defense that included 14 steals and three blocks to beat Laguna Beach, 47-26.
Laguna Beach (5-3) tried to keep up with solid play from Steven Harrison and Noah Blanton. Harrison was a monster under the rim with 16 rebounds, three blocks and six points. Blanton had five rebounds, a team-high eight points and two blocks and two steals.
Riverside was led by Artie Vasquez, who had a team-high 10 points, seven rebounds and one steal; Marcus Ford with nine points, seven rebounds, five steals and one block; and Brian Gugliotta with nine points, four steals, two rebounds and an assist.
Riverside coach Barrett Smalls was happy with his team’s win and the chance to get to play in Laguna Beach, yet knew there is still work to be done.
"[We] gave back some points with missed layups, but a little of everything went into this game," Smalls said. “It was nice to come down to Laguna and win."
Both teams played well and combined for some solid shooting from the three-point line.
"” Scott McCourtney, Community Correspondent
Laguna Beach National Junior Basketball
Boys’ Division 3
Laguna Beach 45, South Coast 39: Undefeated Laguna Beach was taken to the wire Saturday by a pesky South Coast team, but the Breakers eventually pulled out a 45-39 victory to push their record to 8-0.
Charlie Rounaghi led the Breakers with 18 points and Remy Mackel tossed in 16.
South Coast 43, Laguna Beach 38: The other Laguna Beach Division 3 team was in action on the road against a South Coast team that had edged the Breakers earlier in the season. Different venue this time, but same result, as the Breakers came up short again. Laguna’s record sits at 5-3, good for third place behind the other Laguna Beach team (first place) and second-place South Coast.
Boys’ Division 2
Laguna Beach Team One 40, Ladera Ranch 20: The Breakers won their third game in a row, downing yet another Ladera Ranch team. Dylan Davis carved up the Ladera Ranch defense with his crafty ball-handling, getting to the rim several times and finishing with 18 points. Teddy Papa provided points when needed to help push the lead when things got close. Papa finished with 16. Ryan Whitlock knocked in a couple of key jumpers with Davis on the bench and Papa deferring to the other players.
With a target on their back and every team now clearly focused on trying to be the first to topple the Breakers, the other Laguna Beach team also prevailed, 36-26, to remain undefeated. The win sets up a big showdown Saturday, where the 8-0 Breakers will host the 7-0 San Clemente Tritons at 12:45 at the Thurston Middle School gym. The winner of the game will claim the regular-season title.
Boys’ Division 4
Laguna Beach 40, Laguna Hills 8: After back-to-back weeks of nail-biters, Laguna Beach breezed past an undermanned Laguna Hills team. Beginning with a balanced scoring attack, Laguna Beach broke the game open in the second period when Frankie Mead and Holden Geary went on scoring terrors. In all, Geary finished with 23 points and Mead chipped in 10 points. With one game remaining in the regular season, this Laguna Beach team looks poised to finish undefeated entering its postseason tournament in two weeks.
Girls’ Division 2
Laguna Beach Team Two 40, South Coast Team Two 10: The Breakers were led early in scoring by Alexandra Lewis and Lauren McDonnell, with six points each in the first period. Sydney DeCarlo scored and rebounded steadily throughout the game, finishing with six points and several rebounds.
Laguna’s inside presence was too much for the visiting South Coast team, which couldn’t contend inside with the likes of Lewis, DeCarlo, Katie McCombs and Francesca Cecutt.
Nicole Davidson’s stellar play in the fifth period put the game completely out of reach, as Davidson scored on five consecutive possessions and finished with a game-high 14 points.
Capo/Dana 22, Laguna Beach Team One 9: Laguna Beach Team 1 hung close for a second straight week with yet another undefeated Capo/Dana team for the first half and trailed only 10-5.
The Breakers were without both of their inside presence players in Charlotte Duran and Gracie Snedegar, who was coming off a stellar performance last week against the other Capo/Dana team. Taylor Cunningham paced the Breakers with five points.
All-Net Division Boys’ Fifth Grade
Irvine 32, Laguna Beach 31: The boys’ fifth-grade team led through most of its afternoon game against an Irvine team that earlier in the season had handily defeated Laguna Beach. This time, the outcome was different.
With four minutes remaining in the game, Irvine finally surged ahead. Laguna tied the game late on a three-point shot with 10 seconds left.
With the game seemingly headed to overtime, the Breakers were whistled for a foul with two seconds remaining and Irvine hit one of two free-throw attempts to secure a 32-31 win that was a heartbreaking loss for the young Breakers.
"” Mark Lewis, Community Correspondent