LAGUNA BEACH — The past two trips for the Estancia High boys' basketball team to Laguna Beach have not been the most pleasant.
To win the Orange Coast League title, you have to go through Laguna Beach. And for the second straight year, the Eagles missed a chance to distance themselves from the Breakers.
Laguna Beach took sole possession of first place in league after handing Estancia a 47-31 loss on Wednesday, ending the Eagles' five-game winning streak.
With three league games left, Estancia (14-10, 5-2 in league) still has a shot to return to the top.
"The kids had a goal to be league champs and we can still get there. It's going to be a little tougher," Estancia Coach Agustin Heredia said. "We had an opportunity to take control of it ourselves. We just didn't do that [Wednesday night] and that's too bad."
The Breakers did not give Estancia much hope as they swept the two-game series.
They jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 73 seconds. Heredia called for a timeout, trying to settle his players down. The closest the Eagles got was two points.
The Breakers (13-9, 6-1) led from start to finish, showing why they are the league's four-time reigning champs. Estancia was the one program that came close to ending the Breakers' title run last season.
All the Eagles had to do last season was win at Laguna Beach and they clinched their first league title since the 2004-05 season. Like the previous season, the Eagles fell short of jumping ahead of Laguna Beach.
The reason why Estancia is in second place and not in first anymore is because of turnovers, its inability to score and defend the three-point shot.
Laguna Beach won by 16 points, much of it because the Breakers hit five three-pointers to Estancia's zero. That is a 15-point differential.
Two of those threes came on inbound passes in the second quarter. Tyler Kesler drained both of them in a span of 99 seconds. One from each corner and each time he was wide open.
Instead of trailing by two, Estancia was down, 20-12. And the Eagles were down their best player when Davon Joyner picked up his third foul.
The foul trouble hampered Joyner and he finished with just six points, 11 off his season average. Laguna Beach became only the fourth team to hold the 6-foot-4 senior to single-digits.
Estancia's most productive player was 6-6 Rashad Davis. The center came off the bench and finished with a season-high 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Davis was the lone Estancia player to score in the fourth quarter. He made all four field-goal attempts, all in the paint. The rest of his teammates missed eight shots.
When Davis fouled out with 88 seconds left to play, the Breakers went on to record the game's final seven points. Jake Dalke closed things out with a layup to lead Laguna Beach with 11 points.
In the final two minutes, the Eagles missed four shots and turned the ball over twice. They were unable to post double-digit points for the fourth straight quarter.
"Absolutely," Heredia said when asked if he was disappointed after his Eagles went 12-of-40 from the floor. "We were playing for something. We talked about it. The mental turnovers, errors just killed us.
"If [the Breakers] play like that, I don't see them dropping [another league game]."
Orange Coast League
Laguna Beach 47, Estancia 31
SCORE BY QUARTERS
E 6 – 9 – 8 – 8 — 31
LB 10 – 10 – 12 – 15 — 47
E – Davis 18, Joyner 6, Holmes 3, Beck 2, Nelson 2.
3-pt. goals – None.
Fouled out – Davis.
Technicals – None.
LB – Dalke 11, T. Kesler 8, C. Kesler 7, Pillsbury 7, Reigel 6, McCabe 5, Masukawa 3.
3-pt. goals – T. Kesler 2, McCabe 1, Pillsbury 1, Dalke 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – T. Kesler.