Three Laguna Beach National Junior Basketball teams from divisions 1, 2 and 3 are sitting pretty at this point of the season. All three reside in first place in their respective divisions, with two already wrapping up titles as the regular season winds to a close.
Girls' Division 1
The Laguna Beach Lady Breakers Girls' Division 1 team continued its winning ways by defeating Capo Dana team, 35-22. The victory moved the Lady Breakers to 8-0 and also secured a first-place finish for the regular season.
Coach Mark Lewis called the victory "another complete team effort" and said that a balanced offensive attack overcame a second-half charge by visiting Capo Dana. Playing with just six players, Laguna took an early lead and went into halftime ahead, 19-7. Capo Dana came back in the second half to narrow its deficit to five on a few occasions, but the Lady Breakers increased their full-court pressure to pull away.
Jacky Cenan paced the Lady Breakers with nine points. Katelyn Carballo finished with eight points, with two of those points coming on a key steal and layup near the end of the game. Alexandra Lewis and Sydney DeCarlo each chipped in six points, Lauren McDonnell had four points and Murphy Thompson scored on a key bank shot from the deep wing in the first half.
The Lady Breakers have two more regular-season games before heading into the Championship Tournament, where they will face first-place teams from other cities.
Girls' Division 2
Coach Eric Lucas' squad, made up of fifth- and sixth-graders, won three games last weekend to run its record to 9-0.
In the first game of the doubleheader Saturday at Thurston Middle School, Sophia Lucas dominated the boards and scored several second-chance points and Lexi McKeown was tough on defense and converted several fast-break layups to pace a 35-16 victory over San Clemente. In the second game, Nicole Davidson's stifling defense and Madison Sinclair's work under the basket led the team to a 37-16 victory against El Toro.
Laguna wrapped up its busy weekend with a 29-17 victory over Niguel Aliso at Aliso Niguel. Kirsten Landsiedel led the offense, and the defensive efforts of Isabel Mansour and Rachel Kenney helped shut down Niguel Aliso.
Girls' Division 3
Laguna's Division 3 team, comprised of third- and fourth-graders and coached by Coby Naess, won twice last weekend to up its record to 6-1.
In its first game against San Clemente at Thurston Middle Schools, Piper Naess scored nine points and Hallie Carballo and Veronica Guerinot each added five points to help Laguna score a 27-11 victory. Coby Naess said that guards Emmalisa Randrup, Molly Cohn, Evie Laptin and Grace Giusto "handled the ball and played great defense." Izzy Meekma, Jules Duran and Avalon Brice had "their best games of the season, as they guarded much taller girls very tough and got all the rebounds," he said.
In a battle for first place between teams that entered the game with 5-1 records, Laguna tripped up a Capo Dana, 19-16, at Thurston. Carballo led Laguna with six points, Molly Cohn had five points and Randrup scored a key basket to seal the win. Coby Naess said that Quinn Winter and Rosie Lawler played "big roles" in the game.