The Laguna Beach boys’ basketball team has Costa Mesa’s number. In fact, the Breakers have dialed up just about everyone in the Orange Coast League during the past six seasons.
Laguna captured its sixth consecutive OCL championship Tuesday by overcoming slow-paced Godinez, 52-44, at Dugger Gym. The win put the Breakers at 8-1 in league and ran their overall record to 15-10. They finished out the regular season with a home game Thursday () against Saddleback. The score wasn’t available at press time.
Godinez held the lead after the first quarter and only trailed, 21-20, at the half before Laguna began to gain breathing room in the second half. The Grizzlies, 5-4 in league and 16-9 overall after Monday’s game, could have clinched a CIF playoff berth with a win over the Breakers.
Cole Kesler scored 12 points to lead Laguna and Derek Reigel and Brandon Lewis both scored nine points.
“I thought we came out well prepared but we had a few breakdowns on defense in the first quarter that hurt us,” Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. “We gave up five offensive boards in the first quarter and missed something like five layups in the first half. It took us a quarter to wake up.”
Laguna had no problem getting fired up for perhaps its biggest league test of the year when it went to Costa Mesa on Feb. 3. The Mustangs entered the game one game behind Laguna in the league standings and needed a win to move into a tie for the league lead. The Breakers responded by pulling away over the final three quarters for a resounding 60-41 victory.
Kesler connected on four shots from behind the three-point arc and poured in a game-high 25 points. Jake Dalke added 11 points.
Laguna defeated Mesa for the 15th straight time. The win came two days after the Breakers had suffered their first league loss (41-40) at Estancia on Feb. 1.
“I thought we responded really well, especially Cole (Kesler),” Fleming said. “He had missed a last-second shot against Estancia and he was hurting on it. But he came out and played a really strong game and was a big key for us last Friday. I thought he played his best game of the year.
“The group, as a whole, played real well defensively. I thought we did a good job of shutting down their key scorers.”
Laguna will take the No. 1-seed from the Orange Coast League into next week’s CIF Southern Section playoffs. The playoff pairings will be released Sunday.
The Breakers saw their season come to an end on Wednesday on a night where they almost got their first victory of the season.
Laguna held a four-point lead on visiting Saddleback in the final three minutes, but the visiting Roadrunners used a late 11-2 surge to pull out a 41-36 Orange Coast League victory. The loss put the Breakers at 0-10 in league and 0-18 overall.
Jane Wallin and Audrey Rodriguez both scored 11 points to lead Laguna.
“Our girls played hard the entire game and played with the fire and heart we have been preaching all season long,” Laguna first-year Coach Mark Lewis said. “Though we didn’t get the victory, the way the girls played proved to them that they are capable of competing on a nightly basis. The way they played was a high note on which to end the season.
“No one graduates, so all players are returning. Together, with a crop of promising incoming freshmen next year, it will be fun to get after it next season and see where this team can go.”
On Monday, Laguna fell, 49-16, to league-champion Godinez, which went undefeated in OCL play. Kylie Even scored nine points to lead Laguna.