The Laguna Beach Water Polo girls¿ 14-and-under team won the championship Sunday at the Santa Barbara Invitational. From left: Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock.

The Laguna Beach Water Polo girls┬┐ 14-and-under team won the championship Sunday at the Santa Barbara Invitational. From left: Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock. (Courtesy of Laguna Beach Water Polo / January 24, 2013)

A trip north resulted in gold for the Laguna Beach Water Polo 14-and-under girls' team last weekend.

Laguna won the gold medal at the Santa Barbara Water Polo Invitational Sunday by defeating host and heavily-favored Santa Barbara, 5-4, in the championship game.

Despite losing six of seven starters from last season's squad, the youthful Laguna girls kept pace with Santa Barbara during the early part of the game. The locals held a one-point halftime advantage and kept a narrow lead until Santa Barbara tied the score with a goal out of center with 40 seconds left in the game. Laguna quickly struck back with a goal from the outside by Katya Cox-Kruger out of a timeout. It turned out to be the winning goal as Laguna held off a last-second scoring attempt by Santa Barbara to claim the championship.

"Nobody expected this team would make it to the finals of this tournament let alone take out the No. 1 team in the nation to win it," said Chad Beeler, club director of Laguna Beach Water Polo Club. "Our team has a lot of seventh-graders playing in an eighth-grade-and-under level which makes this win even more impressive. I can't wait to see what they can do as the season progresses."

Laguna started the tournament Saturday and used a balanced team effort to post a 13-2 win over Santa Barbara Bronze. In its second game, Laguna outlasted Foothill Water Polo Club, 13-12, in a thrilling, shootout victory. In the last game of the preliminary round, Laguna defeated Huntington Beach 15-5.

On the final day of the competition Sunday, Laguna earned a resounding, 13-4 semifinal victory against Rosebowl.

The Laguna Beach 14U girls' water polo team is: Angelique Begay, Danielle Borelli, Evie Cant, Katya Cox-Kruger, Audrey Duffy, Alana Evans, Aria Fischer, Isabelle Riches, Evan Tingler, Thea Walsh and Kyla Whitelock. The team is coached by Erich Fischer and Matt Tingler.

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Youth Basketball

The Laguna Beach Division 1 National Junior Basketball girls' team remained undefeated by rolling to a 44-11 victory Saturday against Rancho Santa Margarita at Laguna Hills.

Every Breaker got into the scoring act. Sophia Lucas and Madison Sinclair led the way with 12 points each. Kirsten Landsiedel and Nicole Davidson both scored six points and Taylor Glenn and Rachel Kenney both had four points.

Laguna (5-0) previously had scored a 36-25 win over previously-undefeated Niguel Aliso. Lucas led Laguna in scoring with 11 points followed by Davidson with nine points. Sinclair and Isabel Mansour both scored seven points.

Laguna will play a doubleheader this weekend against Aliso Viejo at Dana Hills.

Girls' Division 2

Laguna Beach split a doubleheader Saturday.

In its first game, undefeated teams Laguna and Capo Dana met at St. Margaret's School and the Breakers fell, 24-19. Molly Cohn led Laguna with 10 points.

The Breakers (5-1) bounced back in the second game and played solid defense in defeating the Rancho Santa Margarita Nuggets, 20-8. Izzy Meekma topped Laguna with eight points and Elle Jarrard made a key basket down the stretch to seal the win.

Boys' Division 2

Laguna Beach Team 1 got back on the winning track with a 41-31 win over the Laguna Hills Heat. The team played aggressive, help defense and was led in scoring by Nicholas Lucas with 12, Daniel Kimball with nine points and Beck Kesler added eight points.

Boys Division 3

In a rematch of the first game of the 2012-13 season, Laguna Beach 1 took on Laguna Beach 2 and it was Laguna Beach 1 that was able to pull out a 32-31 victory. Chase Hall scored the winning basket off an assist from George Williams.

Laguna 2 used inside scoring and second-chance points by Nolan Naess and Keegan Evan to build an early lead. Laguna 1 was able to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter behind timely baskets by Booker Firth and Ryan Anthony.

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