LAGUNA BEACH "” Laguna Beach trailed Fountain Valley until late in the third period of Saturday’s Division II National Junior Basketball boys’ game at Thurston Middle School. Once the Breakers took the lead, however, they never let it go and went on to earn a 42-37 victory to bring their perfect record to 11-0.
George MacCabe kept Laguna Beach within striking distance, forcing himself under the basket twice for timely lay-ups. He went on to score a game-high 19 points, but by the end of the second period, Laguna Beach still trailed, 24-21.
Fountain Valley held a healthy lead until late in the third period. That’s when Laguna Beach upped the game physically. Although Laguna Beach missed several shots, the Breakers did manage to grab nearly every rebound in the period. With 2:30 left in the third, Sterling Dudley-Bowen (eight points) scored on an easy lay-up to give his team its first lead, 27-26.
By the end of the fourth period, Laguna Beach had pulled ahead, 38-33, a lead they added to in the fifth period with a 9-0 run.
Hunter Nguyen led a late Fountain Valley rally in the fifth period with consecutive baskets, but it was too late. Fountain Valley could get no closer than five points the remainder of the game.
"” Justin Cox, Community Correspondent
National Junior Basketball
Girls’ Division 3
After losing a heartbreaker Saturday to Chino Valley, 18-17, the scrappy Laguna Beach Breakers clawed their way to a victory Sunday against Capo/Dana Hurricanes, 17-13. The Breakers finished 8-2 on the season and are seeded in the toughest pool in the tournament. At 1-1, the Breakers head into the final game Sunday against the Brea Lakers, who are 2-0. The winner will take first place in the top-level bracket.
Girls’ Division 2
Laguna Team Two 29, Villa Park 12: The Breakers (7-3) used a balanced scoring attack from Alexandra Lewis, Sydney DeCarlo, Lauren McDonnell and Nicole Davidson to wear down Villa Park. Ashley Brown also contributed a key outside jumper to push the lead out of reach. Defensively, Katie McCombs used her length to distract Villa Park shooters, and her rebounds "” along with defensive stops by Shannon Siegrist "” led to fast-break opportunities that were converted by Davidson, DeCarlo and McDonnell. Lewis made several key free throws and had several coast-to-coast baskets in the victory.
Laguna Team Two 21, San Dimas 17: Laguna had a much rougher go of it against San Dimas. The Breakers couldn’t get anything going early and saw San Dimas jump out to an early 8-0 lead. Down 17-8 late in the fourth quarter, San Dimas never made another point and the Breakers stormed ahead on baskets by Alexandra Lewis, Aria Fischer, an outside shot from Sydney DeCarlo and key steals and layups by Lauren McDonnell and Nicole Davidson.
Aria Fischer’s aggressive play in the second half sparked the energy for the Breaker girls, who rallied behind her efforts to take control of the game. After DeCarlo hit her long range shot to put the Breakers ahead, 18-17, late fouls put Lewis and Davidson to the line, where they converted to seal the victory. The Breakers are 2-0 in pool play and will battle against a 2-0 Los Alamitos team for the championship.
Laguna Team One: The Breakers fell to Los Alamitos, 33-13, but came back for a 31-2 drubbing of the Newport-Mesa Scorpions. They play the Rancho Santa Margarita Celtics on Sunday, with the winner taking sole possession of second place in the pool.
Girls’ Division 1
After starting the season 1-4, the Breakers finished the second half 4-1 to end the season with good momentum going into the tournament. Placed in a pool with teams that have 9-1 records, the Breakers met the challenge by defeating the Cypress Cougars, 32-31, when Jane Wallin hit on one of two free throws with only seconds remaining to propel the Breakers to victory. Next up for Laguna Beach are teams from Rancho Santa Margarita and Fountain Valley.
Boys’ Division 2
Coach Anne Herr’s boys fought a tough battle, where late turnovers proved costly in a 38-30 loss to Hacienda Heights. The Breakers take on teams from Fountain Valley and La Habra this weekend for a chance to vie for first place in their pool.
Boys’ Division 3
Laguna Team 1, which finished the season 10-0, ran into buzz saws from Capo/Dana and Tustin, losing big in both games. The Breakers ended their season with a hard-fought win over a tough Anaheim Hills team to finish third in their pool.
Team 1 finished its season 11-2, thanks to the performances of Charlie Rounaghi, Owen McMurray, Remy Mackel, Jeremy Shutts, George Knapp, Will Lichtenstein, Elliott Cook and David Linkletter.
Laguna Team 2 was down players and could not overcome an early 10-0 deficit. The Breakers will try to rebound this weekend without one of their key players, Jake Levine "” out for the season with a snowboarding injury "” to make a run at some tournament hardware by finishing either first or second in their pool.
"” Mark Lewis, Community Correspondent