The Laguna Beach High girls' basketball team positioned itself Tuesday for a potential big finish to the 2014 Orange Coast League race.
The Breakers stayed in the thick of the title chase by breaking past visiting Costa Mesa in the second half for a 63-50 victory at Dugger Gym. They were able to ease from a one-point halftime lead for a double-digit win that kept the Breakers (4-1 league) tied with Estancia for first place in the league standings.
The league lead was on the line Thursday when Laguna played at Estancia to begin the second round of league play. The score wasn't available at press time.
Against Costa Mesa Tuesday, Laguna (14-7 overall) took an early lead, but the Mustangs (3-2 in league) rode the hot shooting of guard Danielle Obong to make it a one-point game. Obong hit five three-point shots in the opening half and scored 20 points as the Mustangs narrowed the Breakers' lead to 33-32 at intermission.
Laguna was able to take its lead in the opening half behind the scoring of sophomore guard Jackie Cenan, who poured in 21 points in the half.
The Breakers began to pull away from a close game late in the third quarter where they opened up a 50-43 advantage. They extended their lead to double digits in the fourth quarter where freshman guard Nicole Davidson scored on two, key drives for jump shots, sophomore guard Alexandra Lewis hit a pair of three-point shots plus a three-point play for a total of nine points in the quarter, senior center Jane Wallin had several, key defensive rebounds, and a basket by sophomore forward Francesca Cecutti helped contain a mini scoring run by the Mustangs.
Cenan went on to lead all scorers with 33 points. Lewis scored 13, Wallin nine points and Davidson and Cecutti both scored four points.
The Breakers held Obong to five points in the second half.
Laguna Coach Mark Lewis called the victory a "great team win with contributions from all on both ends."
"Different players stepped up at different times and we maintained our composure well down the stretch to secure the victory," he said.
"We have put ourselves in a great position in the league race at the halfway point. Obviously, Estancia is a big game [Thursday] for both teams with the winner controlling their own destiny."
Alexandra Lewis hit three three-point shots in the win over Costa Mesa to set a new Laguna Beach girls' basketball record for made three-point shots (44) in a single season. The previous record was 42. Lewis' older brother, Brandon, a 2012 graduate of Laguna Beach, is the single-season record holder for made three-point shots (85) for the boys' program.
Laguna had scored a rare league win at Godinez Jan. 23, taking a 43-28 decision. It marked only the second time in league play that the Breakers had defeated the Grizzlies with both wins coming on the road.
Godinez keyed on Cenan and held the sophomore to only three points. Wallin took charge and scored 14 of her game-high 16 points in the first half to set the tone. Lewis scored nine of her 14 points in the second half. Her three-point shot pushed the Laguna lead in the half to double digits. She followed with a basket after grabbing an offensive rebound off a missed free throw attempt, and then hit a driving layup to put the game away.
Davidson and Cecutti scored five points apiece.
Laguna plays its next three league games at home starting with a 6 p.m. Tuesday matchup with Saddleback. The Breakers conclude next week's schedule with a 6 p.m. Thursday game against Godinez.