A sluggish start to Wednesday's opener at the Estancia Coast Classic couldn't deter the Laguna Beach High boys' basketball team from opening the tournament with a big win.
The Breakers began to pull away from Newport Harbor in the second half at Estancia High, and went on to claim a 59-45 victory over the Sailors.
The win moved Laguna to 9-5 overall and came on the heels of an impressive, double-digit win Saturday over Corona del Mar.
"I don't think either team played well at the start," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. "In the first half, we turned the ball over the first four times we touched it. It was real ragged out there. We played much better in the second half to come out with a win."
Laguna led, 26-24, at the half, but took control of the game by outscoring the Sailors, 20-6, in the third quarter.
Senior guard Cole Kesler led Laguna with 14 points. Junior guards Alec Wulff and Matt Jones scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, and senior guard Jake Dalke and junior forward Noah Blanton both scored nine points.
On Saturday, Laguna took part in the OC North/South Challenge at El Toro High, and rolled to a 54-39 victory over Corona del Mar. Wulff hit four three-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points. Kesler scored 12 points.
The Breakers turned an 11-point halftime advantage into a 48-28 lead through three quarters.
The North/South Challenge at El Toro featured 11 games over a two-day period that started Dec. 21.
"We played really well and were really solid in that game. Alec [Wulff] had a great game." Fleming said. "With the exception of a few games, the tournament was very competitive. It was a real nice win for us."
The Estancia Coast Classic continues Friday and concludes with championship and consolation round action Saturday.
The Breakers are in the Palm Desert area competing this week at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic. They play their tournament opener at noon Wednesday against Coachella Valley. They play their third tourney game Friday at host Desert Christian Academy in Bermuda Dunes.
The tournament continues with final day play on Saturday.
GIRLS' WATER POLO
The sixth-ranked Breakers won a Division 2 matchup against ninth-ranked San Marcos on Dec. 21, winning, 18-8. Laguna raced to an 8-1 lead after one quarter and was on top, 11-3, at the half.
Brighid Burnes scored five goals and had an assist, Makenzie Fischer had three goals, five assists and two steals, Mackenzie Baldridge had two goals and three assists, Ally Jochim and Natalie Seling both scored twice, and Sydney Saxe had a goal and assist and three steals. Holly Parker had nine saves and Jenna Knott one save.
The Breakers begin play Friday at the Newport Harbor-Corona del Mar Holiday Cup. They take on Edison at 11:45 a.m. at Corona del Mar High. The tournament concludes Saturday.
The Breakers went into the winter break on the same winning note they've enjoyed during the first month of the season.
Laguna improved to 5-0-1 overall on Dec. 21 by rallying in the second half to defeat host Sage Hill, 4-1. Hunter Ashworth, Harrison Gregory, Zach Jacobs, Grifan Fair all scored for the Breakers who were able to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit.
"We were very poor at the start of the game and Sage worked very hard and did a good job of taking us out of our rhythm," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "We didn't look like we had come ready to play and Sage definitely did. They deserved to be leading at the half."
The Lightning held a 1-0 halftime lead before Laguna's offensive explosion in the second half.
"The boys showed a lot of character in the second half and had a much better approach to the game," Richards aid. "This was the first time so far this season where we had gone behind so I was glad with the response. We made a few tactical and positional changes for the second half and it paid off. As a coach, it's good to see when players are able to take on board the information given to them, and then execute it.
"Chris Tellez really stepped up his game and started to cause Sage a lot of problems. A lot of the other players also showed a lot more heart and fight to help turn the game around which will definitely be needed during league."
In its six matches, Laguna has scored 22 goals and given up only two.
The Breakers are off until Jan. 4 when they host Woodbridge. It's their final nonleague game before opening their league slate Jan. 9 at home against Saddleback.
The Breakers are in the Palm Spring area this week for nonleague play. They play Indio at 11 a.m. Friday.