Breakers cut down the nets

They cut down the nets Thursday night at Dugger Gym.

The Laguna Beach Breakers had every right to celebrate, having gone on the road to play their Orange Coast League and regular season finale at Saddleback and then returned to campus with a 45-37 boys' basketball victory that put the icing on another league championship.

Although they traveled for the game, they came back to their own gym to do what championship teams do.

It was "net time."

"It has become a tradition here to cut down the net if we win league, whether we play at home or on the road," said Laguna Coach Bret Fleming who has led the Breakers to five consecutive league titles in the five-year history of the Orange Coast League. "It was fun tonight."

And it beat the alternative.

"If we lose, then even though we still would have won league, we would have practiced, instead of cutting the nets," Fleming said before the game.

For a time tonight, it looked as though the Breakers would be running lines instead of each player snipping a little piece of history.

Laguna, which was stunned at home two weeks ago by Saddleback — a victory that turned out to be the only league win for the Roadrunners, who finished 1-9 — got off to dismal start. The Breakers trailed, 18-12, after one quarter but turned it on on the defensive end in the second quarter when they held the Roadrunners to just three points and managed to head into the locker room in front, 22-21.

"We were down big to start off the game and it didn't look pretty, at all," Fleming said. "We came out flat, played better in the second quarter and finally took a little lead in the third quarter.

"Turnovers really killed us early and we didn't shoot well from the perimeter. We turned the ball over on our first three possessions of the game and they (Saddleback) came out hungry. This was their last game of the season, and they were playing like it early."

Laguna's Cole Kesler scored a game-high five points. Kesler's brother, Tyler, had 13 points. Jake Dalke scored eight points, Derek Reigel seven and Tyler Masukawa two.

The Breakers head into next week's CIF playoffs with a 16-9 record (9-1 league).

The playoff pairings will be released Sunday by the CIF Southern Section office.

"It's a great feeling to win league," said Masukawa, a junior starting guard who sat out the start of the season with an ankle injury and last week, missed the Calvary Chapel game due to bronchitis. "We're a really young team and we weren't predicted to win league. It feels great to prove them wrong and win league for a fifth-straight time. It's a great accomplishment and we're ready for the playoffs."

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