It's been a week full of exams for the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team. On Wednesday, the Breakers passed another Orange Coast League test.
Laguna wrapped up the first round of league play at Saddleback and pulled away during the final three quarters to earn a 66-40 victory over the Roadrunners. The 26-point triumph put the defending-champion Breakers at 5-0 in league and upped their overall record to 12-9. Most important, it kept them alone in first place.
Saddleback is at the opposite end of the league at 0-5.
"It was a 26-point win, but we were a little lackluster," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. "We're in finals week so it's been a busy week for the kids. We weren't really focused early on and we were a little too individual early on, as well. But we got better as the game went on. We kind of knew what to expect from tonight's game."
The Breakers grabbed a 12-9 lead after one quarter and extended the lead to 33-19 by the half. They took a 46-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Brandon Lewis led all scorers with 20 points. Senior guard Tyler Masukawa scored 10 points and Laguna's balanced continued with junior guard Cole Kesler scoring nine points, sophomore guard Noah Blanton eight points, junior guard Jake Dalke seven points, senior forward Derek Reigel and senior forward Luke Barker each had four points and senior guard Jack Pillsbury and junior center Shea Ruda both had two points.
Laguna took over sole possession of first place Jan. 20 when it defeated visiting Costa Mesa, 63-50, in a battle of league undefeated teams. The Breakers used a 9-0 run to end the first half to grab a 28-21 lead over the Mustangs, who entered the game at 14-5 overall, ranked seventh in CIF Division 4A and were on a seven-game win streak.
Kesler topped all scorers with 18 points and Dalke had 15 points.
"I thought we gave a real good effort against Costa Mesa," Fleming said. "I thought Costa Mesa played well, too. One thing I was real pleased with is that we did a good job of communicating defensively. It was a good win."
The Breakers begin the second half of league play Friday. They'll host Calvary Chapel at 7 p.m. Laguna handily won the Jan. 13 meeting between the teams, 65-30.
Next week, the league race reaches a pivotal point: Laguna travels to face Estancia on Wednesday and then goes to Costa Mesa on Feb. 3. Costa Mesa defeated Estancia on Wednesday and is one game behind Laguna in the standings at 4-1. Estancia occupies third place at 3-2.
"It's crucial that we continue to play as a group," Fleming said of the big week ahead for the Breakers. "We are at our best when we are sharing the ball. On the defensive side, the big thing for us is that we continue to communicate."
The Breakers slipped to 0-5 in Orange Coast League play Tuesday after dropping a 37-26 game to host Saddleback.
Laguna started off slowly and trailed, 17-2, after the first quarter. The Breakers went on to outscore the Roadrunners, 24-20, the rest of the way but couldn't complete the comeback.
Junior guard Kylie Even led Laguna (0-13) in scoring with eight points. Sophomore guard Kyra Humphries added six points, sophomore guard Audrey Rodriguez and junior forward Madeline Knutson both scored four points and sophomore center Jane Wallin and sophomore forward Sarina Strickland completed the scoring with two points each.
Laguna takes on Estancia for a second time this season when the teams meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Eagles' home floor. The Breakers also play at 7 p.m. game Thursday at Costa Mesa.