Edison High gave Laguna Beach a hardy welcome to Sunset Conference boys’ basketball on Wednesday.
The Chargers weathered an early storm before raining down three-pointers to dismiss the visiting Breakers 70-55 in a mostly one-sided contest.
Aiden Garnett hit five three-pointers and scored 23 points to lead the Chargers (10-5). Bradley Luna came off the bench to quiet Laguna Beach star Nolan Naess as Edison took charge of a tight game in the second quarter.
Kaden Headington added 14 points and Jack Horton 11 for Edison, which fell behind by six points in the first quarter. But the Chargers used a 23-7 run to gain command and led by double digits most of the rest of the way.
Naess scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Breakers (4-9), who dropped their seventh straight game.
“We’re real young, real inexperienced,” said Laguna Beach coach Bret Fleming, who has no seniors and started three sophomores, including Naess. “It’s tough with young kids. Sometimes they get it and show up, and it’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s what we talked about [in our] game plan,’ and other times it’s, like, in one ear and out the other, and it’s like, ‘We talked about this, fellas.’ You know?
“I think we’re going to take some lumps this year, and I think next couple of years we should be pretty good.”
Edison, too, has a new team after graduating 11 seniors from last year’s co-Sunset League championship team.
But strong outside shooting — the Chargers made 14 of 28 three-pointers and scored 27 of their 33 second-half points from behind the arc — and superb man-to-man defense could be Edison’s calling card this season.
The game didn’t count in the league standings. The Sunset Conference has expanded to eight schools and divided into two leagues. The Breakers, who came over from the Orange Coast League, are in the Wave League with Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Marina, and Edison is in the Surf League with Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos.
The games outside the conference are, officially, nonleague clashes. Neither coach likes the new set-up.
“I don’t think any coach likes it, but it is what we have to do,” Edison coach Rich Boyce said. “It is sad [to see the old Sunset League change so drastically]. The Sunset League was always great basketball, great football, and to have it break up like this is sad. But, hopefully, one day it will be put back together.”
There were eight lead changes in the first 4½ minutes, and Laguna Beach opened a 16-10 advantage as Naess hit a three-pointer and scored underneath in a quick 7-0 run. The Chargers responded with tighter defense, limiting their guest to just 10 shots and 10 points en route to an 11-point halftime lead.
“We started recognizing better what they were trying to do, get the ball inside and stuff, and we were able to rotate the right guys,” Boyce said. “I was very happy with our defense, and, obviously, when we can make shots, it’s good for us.”
Luke Serven came off the bench to make three second-half threes, with the second providing a 55-36 lead — the biggest of the night — with 93 seconds to go in the third quarter. Laguna Beach climbed within nine points with about 3½ minutes to play, but Justin Strauss and Garnett, who rolled his injured ankle in the third quarter but returned to the game, hit late threes for the final margin.
“They shoot the ball really well, and we get confused really easily,” Fleming said. “I thought the kids played hard. We didn’t play real smart, but the kids played hard.”
Edison 70, Laguna Beach 55
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Laguna Beach 18 – 8 – 13 – 16 — 55
Edison 17 – 20 – 18 – 15 — 70
LB – Naess 20, Hogenauer 9, Rounaghi 9, Kravitz 8, Hall 4, Zimmerman 3, Sirianni 2.
3-pt. goals – Hogenauer 3, Kravitz 2, Rounaghi 2, Naess 1, Zimmerman 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
E – Garnett 23, Headington 14, Horton 11, Serven 9, Strauss 7, Luna 4, Collins 2.
3-pt. goals – Garnett 5, Horton 3, Serven 3, Headington 2, Strauss 1.
Fouled out – None.