The Laguna Beach girls' basketball team opened its home schedule Tuesday, using a strong second-half performance to pull away to a 43-29 nonleague victory against Fullerton at Dugger Gym.
The Breakers, who improved to 3-2, were sluggish in the first half but picked up its defensive intensity in the third quarter and outscored Fullerton, 12-2, to pull out to a 29-18 lead.
Senior guard Emily Writer had 25 points and nine rebounds and senior center Sam Garner had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead the victory.
"Everyone played and contributed and it was a great team effort," Laguna Coach Jon Hendrickson said.
Laguna was coming off a 2-2 showing at last week's Corona del Mar tournament. The Breakers ended their four-game swing with a 52-39 win against Santa Ana. Garner and Writer again turned in a strong performances, with each recording a double-double. Garner had 13 points and 16 rebounds to go along with eight blocks and Writer poured in a game-high 26 points with 12 rebounds.
"Once again, everyone played and contributed in one way or another, which is becoming our mantra this year," Hendrickson said. "I like what I've seen so far in each individual. We are trusting each other more and building team camaraderie. We have a long way to go until we reach our peak, but I'm happy with our effort and desire."
The Breakers don't play again until next Thursday, when they travel to San Juan Hills for a 7 p.m. nonleague game against the Stallions.
A slow start to Wednesday's nonleague game against Dana Hills cost Laguna, which fell in its home opener to the Dolphins, 66-50.
Sophomore guard Jake Dalke scored 13 points and junior guard Jack Pillsbury had 11 for Laguna, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Dana Hills had four players in double figures, led by senior forward Jeremy Bass' game-high 20 points.
"They came out and played hard and physical right off the bat and we kind of backed off," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said of the Dolphins, who jumped out to a 16-5 lead after the first quarter. "We played better in the second and third quarters but couldn't overcome a poor start.
"We also didn't rebound well and did a poor job with our help-side defense."
The Breakers dropped their season-opener to San Clemente on Nov. 29 in the opening round of the La Quinta Tournament but won their next three games to claim the consolation championship. Laguna started its three-game run with a 49-33 win over Rancho Alamitos on Nov. 30, then routed Orange Coast League rival Costa Mesa, 50-26. In the consolation final, Laguna downed the Pioneer Titans, 53-44.
In the win over Costa Mesa, who Fleming said was missing a few players, sophomore guard Cole Kesler scored 11 points and junior forward Brandon Lewis and junior guard Derek Reigel each scored 10 points. Against Pioneer, Dalke led the way with 14 points, Lewis and senior forward Tyler Kesler each had 12 points and Pillsbury scored 10.
The Breakers have played the 15 quarters without returning junior point guard Tyler Masukawa, who suffered a severe ankle sprain at the start of the second quarter of the Rancho Alamitos game Nov. 30. Masukawa went through pregame warm-ups Wednesday but didn't play.
Fleming said there's a "possibility" that Masukawa could play today against Irvine but could be back from next week's Westminster tournament.
The Breakers host Irvine at 7 p.m. today at Dugger Gym. On Monday, they'll face host Westminster in an opening-round game of the Charlie Wilkins Classic.
The tournament runs through Dec. 18.