Bret Fleming got his first look at his Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team in game action Wednesday when the Breakers scrimmaged Segerstrom.
Fleming, who is in his 19th year as head coach, has several key pieces returning from a team that last year won 22 games that included a 10-0 run to the Orange Coast League title.
"We had a good year with 22 wins and an undefeated league championship," he said. "Great group of kids."
Two key players from last year's ninth-ranked team that won a first-round game against Salesian in the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs before falling at No. 8-seeded Harvard-Westlake in the second round, are gone to graduation. Gone is Cole Kesler, MVP of the OCL, a first-team All CIF Southern Section Division 4AA selection, and the team's leader in scoring, assists and steals, and all-league player Jake Dalke.
The duo, both all-league selections in each of the last four years, were co-MVP of the league in 2012.
The Breakers do return three starters, senior guards Alec Wulff and Noah Blanton, and senior forward Josh Adams, from last year's team. A fourth player, senior guard Matt Jones, also started several games last year.
Wulff, who hit a career-high seven three-pointers and scored a career-best 29 points in Laguna's final game last year, and Blanton, both were first-team all-league in 2013.
Laguna last year set the all-time record for the margin of victory (25.2 points) per game in a 10-game league season, the largest in the 79-year history of the program. By going 10-0 against OCL competition, the Breakers became the first Laguna team since 1953 to finish league play 10-0. The 2009 squad went 8-0.
The 2012-13 Breakers became only the third undefeated league champion in program history. The program enters the new season owning 14 league championships.
Head coach: Bret Fleming (19th year)
Coaching staff: Rus Soobzokov; Jim Garvey (JV coach); Brandon Lewis (Frosh/soph coach).
Last year's records: 22-4 overall; 10-0 league (champion).
2013 CIF results: Reached second-round Division 4AA playoffs.
Returning varsity players: *Alec Wulff, G., Sr.(first-team all-league); *Noah Blanton, G., Sr. (first-team all-league); *Josh Adams, F, Sr.; Bryan Ludloff, G, Sr.; *Matt Jones, G, Sr.; Garrett Wong, G, Sr. (*denotes returning starters).
Varsity newcomers: Isaac Wulff, G, Soph.; Max Brown, G, Sr.; Darin Richardson, F, Soph.; Samiar Tehrani, F, Jr.; Spencer Wong, G, Soph.
Coach's take: "This year's team is talented and competitive," Fleming said. "We'll start five seniors with experience. All our guys have worked hard and improved over the off season."
Team key: "We'll need to stay healthy," Fleming said.
The schedule: "We play a very tough preseason schedule," Fleming said of a slate that starts with the Godinez Invitational. The Breakers also will compete in both the Irvine World News Tournament and Torrey Pines Classic in December. Nonleague non-tournament games are against Dana Hills, Irvine and Brethren Christian.
Season opener: Monday, 6:15 p.m., vs. Katella (Godinez Tournament, Loara High).
Monday: vs. Katella, 6:15 p.m. (Godinez Invitational, Loara High)
Tues.-Dec. 7: at Godinez Invitational, TBA
Dec. 11: at Dana Hills, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13: at Irvine, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16-21: at Irvine World News Tournament, TBA
Dec. 26-30: at Torrey Pines Classic
Jan. 3: vs. Brethren Christian, 1:30 p.m. (North/South Challenge)
Jan. 15: at *Saddleback, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17: *Estancia, 7 p.m.
Jan. 22: *Calvary Chapel, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24: at *Godinez, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29: *Costa Mesa, 7 p.m.
Jan. 31: at *Estancia, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5: *Saddleback, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7: *Godinez, 7 p.m.
Feb. 11: at *Calvary Chapel, 7 p.m.
Feb. 13: at *Costa Mesa, 7 p.m.
(*denotes league game)