A year ago, a Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team saddled with injuries still had enough in the tank to win another Orange Coast League championship. This winter, the Breakers welcome back a solid nucleus that includes three starters from a 17-11 team that once again, earned an automatic bid to the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
A talented returning group has veteran Coach Bret Fleming optimistic about the 2012-13 season. Laguna gets its new campaign off and running Monday at the Godinez Tournament in Santa Ana.
The following is a capsule look at the 2012-13 Breakers.
League: Orange Coast
Head coach: Bret Fleming (18th year, 254-198)
Coaching staff: Rus Soobzokov, Jim Garvey
Last year's record: 17-11
Last year's league finish: 9-1 (champion)
2012 CIF results: Reached first round Division 4AA playoffs
Returning starters: Cole Kesler (G, 6-3, league co-MVP, Sr.); Jake Dalke (G, 6-4, league co-MVP, Sr.); Noah Blanton (Wing, 6-5, second-team all-league, Jr.).
The roster: Matt Jones (5-11, Jr.); Garrett Wong (5-10, Jr.); Frank Shojaei (5-10, Sr.); Alec Wulff (6-3, Jr.); Bryan Ludloff (6-1, Jr.); Shea Rouda (6-4, Sr.); Josh Adams (6-3, Jr.).
Team notes: Fleming likes the talent on his team. Kesler, Dalke and Blanton anchor a unit that must fill vacancies left by graduated players Brandon Lewis and Derek Reigel, both of whom were first-team all-league picks last year. A formidable nonleague schedule has the Breakers playing games against Dana Hills, Irvine, Corona del Mar, plus a slew of top teams in pool play at the Beckman/Irvine World News Tournament.
Coach's outlook: "We have a lot of good pieces this year, probably as much talent as we've had in the last three-four years," Fleming said. "We have 10 kids that can play and eight that could start. We play a really tough preseason schedule and we'll find out just how good we are. A couple of transfers in Alec [Wulff] and Josh [Adams], has really helped."
Season opener: 6:15 p.m., Monday, vs. Savanna, Godinez Tournament
Monday: vs. Savanna, 6:15 p.m. (Godinez Tournament)
Tues.-Dec. 1: at Godinez Tournament (TBA)