HUNTINGTON BEACH — It wasn't looking pretty for Ocean View in the early stages of Thursday's girls' basketball nonleague game against Laguna Beach. No, not with the visiting Breakers starting to quickly pull away in the second half — and seemingly comfortably, too, from what had been a close game.
The Seahawks were struggling on offense, giving up some easy buckets defensively, and appeared to be heading toward their ninth defeat of the season after digging themselves into an 11-point hole.
"This is where we struggle," Ocean View Coach Kim Morris said of her team's offensive woes that began late in the second quarter and extended till the midway point of the third quarter. "We weren't setting things up offensively and we were flat. But I told the girls that they just gotta stay with it. It was a matter of them changing their mentality."
After falling behind, 31-20, the first two minutes of the second half, Ocean View managed, somehow, to switch gears and went on a 17-point tear of its own to take control and eventually earn a 50-38 victory.
"We started to hit our bank shots, hit the boards and get into a flow," Morris said. "Because we are young, we are capable of hitting a dry spell on offense. Defensively, I thought we did a good job."
Ocean View (7-8) led, 13-10, after the first quarter but started to get into an offensive funk in the second quarter where the Seahawks managed to score just five points.
They headed into halftime trailing, 21-18.
Things got worse from there.
Laguna went on its 11-0 run in the first 1:30 of the second half to open up its 31-20 lead. But Ocean View began to chip away at that lead and then used a sledge hammer to obliterate the deficit. Consecutive baskets by Francis Oda, one of two seniors on the Ocean View roster, brought the Seahawks to within 31-28 late in the quarter. They took the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter, and for good, when Mari Shigemasa hit two free throws with 24 seconds to go in the quarter.
The Seahawks took a 32-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
Shigemasa added to the lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter when she hit two free throws after creating a turnover. Moments later, Laguna center Sam Garner was called for an illegal screen and Kelli Berry, the other senior on the Ocean View roster, launched a three-point shot at the other end of the court, to push the lead to 37-31.
The 17-0 Ocean View run ended at the 5:25 mark of the quarter when Lola Cowie hit a short-range jumper to pull the Breakers to within 37-33.
They wold get no closer the rest of the way.
"I think they just took us out of what we wanted to do, using a triangle-and-two to take our two best players out of the game," Laguna Coach Jon Hendrickson said. "We didn't make adjustments to that, and that's a coaching error on my part. Things were looking pretty good there for awhile but I didn't make the proper adjustments."
Morris knew that senior guard Emily Writer and Garner, a senior center, were Laguna's top two scorers and team leaders. Writer came into the game averaging 23 points and Garner was scoring nearly 10 a game and averaging close to 14 rebounds.
"I told our girls if they could reduce that 23 (points) to 12, we'd have a great chance of winning," Morris said. "I thought we really did a nice job of limiting their big players."
The Seahawks held Writer to a season-low six points. Garner scored 12 points and Cowie finished with eight points.
Berry, whose big shots in the second half sparked the Seahawks' comeback, led all scorers with 17 points. Oda added 10 points.
Ocean View travels Saturday to face La Quinta in a 6 p.m. nonleague game. Next week, the Seahawks begin Orange Coast League play Tuesday on the road at Orange.
"Our goal is to head into league at .500," said Morris whose team needs a win Saturday over La Quinta to even its overall record.
Laguna also plays a nonleague game at 6 p.m. Saturday, hosting Vaughn of the San Fernando Valley.