LAGUNA BEACH — One day is all Costa Mesa High Coach Bryan Rice said he had to prepare for the Laguna Beach boys’ basketball team.
One day turned out to be not enough time for the Mustangs to knock off the defending Orange Coast League champion.
In a game featuring two undefeated league teams on Friday night, the Breakers stayed perfect. Laguna Beach improved to 4-0 in league with a 63-50 victory at home.
The Mustangs (14-6, 3-1 in league) still haven’t won at Laguna Beach during the Orange Coast League’s six seasons in existence.
Despite the Breakers being Costa Mesa’s second opponent in a three-day span, this might have been the Mustangs’ best shot to prevail at Laguna Beach. The Mustangs, ranked seventh in the CIF Southern Section Division 4A poll, had won seven straight games.
That streak ended because Laguna Beach has been tough to beat at home in Orange Coast League play, losing only once in its gym.
The Mustangs had to contend with more than the Breakers, who are 11-9 overall. A band showed up, causing all sorts of noise. Costa Mesa seemed to handle the conditions for the first 13 minutes as it led for much of the time.
In the final three minutes of the second quarter, that changed. The Breakers closed out the first half on a 9-0 run. They went into halftime with a 28-21 lead and never looked back.
Laguna Beach’s offense created problems for the Mustangs in the final three quarters. Hurting Costa Mesa was having power forward Jake Comer in foul trouble.
Five minutes into the game, Comer collected his third foul. With a senior starter out, Rice said the Mustangs’ rotations on defense lagged behind and it cost the visitors.
“We lost this on the defensive end of the floor,” said Rice, who saw Laguna Beach shoot 53% from the floor after the first quarter. “They run a great offense.”
The Mustangs tried to play catch up in the second half. They appeared to get back in the game when Nick Hefner stole the ball and pushed it up the court with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
Hefner found a wide-open Jordan Walden, who converted a layup, cutting the deficit to five points. But the points never made it onto the scoreboard after an official called Hefner for traveling.
Costa Mesa couldn’t afford to miss easy points, not when Laguna Beach went on to score the next eight points.
Brandon Lewis was responsible for six of those points. The senior forward recorded them on two three-pointers from the same spot, the corner, giving the Breakers a 44-29 lead, their biggest.
Walden helped the Mustangs close the gap. He closed out the third quarter with a three-pointer and opened the fourth quarter with a three.
Costa Mesa trailed, 44-38, after Walden made his fourth three. But Walden, a shooting guard, who finished with 14 points, never shot again.
Nick Dawson, a point guard, took over the shooting duties. In the fourth quarter, the senior nailed two three-pointers, surprising Rice.
Rice said Dawson returned to the lineup after sitting out the Mustangs’ 37-24 league win against Calvary Chapel on Wednesday because he received two technical fouls in a nonleague game against Schurr of Montebello on Monday.
Dawson led Costa Mesa with 15 points, to go with three assists and three steals.
“We had some good efforts from unexpected sources,” said Rice, referring to Dawson and Oronde Crenshaw, who came off the bench and had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Mustangs will need the two and everyone else to get back on the winning side.
Costa Mesa’s next game is at home Wednesday, when it plays the first of two against Estancia in the Battle for the Bell rivalry.
“Now we get three days to prepare for Estancia, which helps us,” Rice said.
Orange Coast League
Laguna Beach 63, Costa Mesa 50
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mesa 15 – 6 – 14– 15 — 50
Laguna 12 – 16 – 16 – 19 — 63
CM – Dawson 15, Walden 14, Crenshaw 10, S. Comer 5, El-Assadi 3, N. Hefner 2, K. Hefner 1.
3-pt. goals – Walden 4, Dawson 2, S. Comer 1.
LB – Kesler 18, Dalke 15, Lewis 9, Masukawa 9, Reigel 5, Blanton 4, Pillsbury 2, Barker 1.
3-pt. goals – Lewis 3, Kesler 1, Masukawa 1.