Two days after winning its opener at the Charlie Wilkins Tournament, the Laguna Beach boys’ basketball team saw a comfortable halftime lead slip away against Artesia on Wednesday and went on to drop a 52-45 decision at Westminster High.
Junior guard Jake Dalke scored 19 points, junior guard Cole Kesler 10 points, senior forward Brandon Lewis nine points and sophomore guard Noah Blanton seven points.
Laguna led the Pioneers by nine (24-15) at the break.
“We pretty much led the first 2 1/2 quarters, but we didn’t finish real strong,” said Laguna Coach Bret Fleming whose team slipped to 5-4 overall. “We sort of lost focus, and they (Artesia) were able to come back on us.”
The Breakers had moved into the winner’s bracket side of the tournament Monday after posting a 54-41 victory over El Segundo in a game Fleming said his Breakers “played pretty well.” Dalke and Kesler had 17 and 16 points, respectively, and Lewis scored 12 points.
The Breakers also let a big first-half lead dissipate — Fleming said they were up 14 points midway through the second quarter against Irvine on Dec. 9 and eventually lost the non-league game to the host Vaqueros, 57-54. Kesler tied for game scoring honors with 18 points and Dalke scored 16.
Laguna continues play Friday at the Charlie Wilkins Tournament and takes on Trabuco Hills at 4:30 p.m. at Westminster High. Next week, the Breakers face La Habra at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Orange County North-South Challenge at El Toro High.
“We’re playing nothing but quality teams,” Fleming said. “Trabuco Hills is a pretty solid team and so is La Habra. I think what we need to focus on, is to compete hard and play hard for all four quarters.”
The Breakers played their second game of the season on Tuesday and lost, 55-13, to visiting San Juan Hills. Sophomore guard Audrey Rodriguez led Laguna with eight points.
Laguna starts play next Tuesday at the Santiago Tournament and will face Anaheim. The Breakers also play tournament games next Wednesday against Rancho Alamitos and next Thursday against Port of Los Angeles. They also will play a tournament game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent on Dec. 23, the final day of the tournament.