Boys' Basketball: Breakers too much for Salesian

Laguna Beach dominant in 66-33 first-round win of CIF Division 4-AA playoffs on Wednesday.

February 14, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(Don Leach | Coastline…)

LAGUNA BEACH — It isn't often that a team gets to clear its bench during the CIF Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs.

That is exactly what was afforded the Laguna Beach Breakers Wednesday during their first-round game against Salesian of Los Angeles in the Division 4-AA playoffs. The Breakers led throughout the night and cruised to a 66-33 victory over the visiting Mustangs at Dugger Gym.

The win, the 12th straight for Laguna, puts the No. 9-seeded Breakers into Friday's second round. They'll go on the road to take on eighth-seeded Harvard Westlake which won, 77-46, at Templeton in another first-round game Wednesday.

Laguna, 22-6 overall, opened up a 29-21 halftime lead on Salesian, an at-large entry to the playoffs from the Santa Fe League, and never looked back.

"Salesian came out with a lot of energy and pressed, but we came out and played well, too," Laguna Coach Bret Fleming said. "Our thing tonight was to take care of the ball, and we pretty much did that. I don't think we played all that well defensively early on, but on offense, we got our transition game going and scored points on layups by beating their trap. I thought we passed the ball well tonight."


Laguna took complete control by scoring the first eight points of the second half. Senior guard Cole Kesler's three-pointer started the half, and junior post Noah Blanton completed the 8-0 surge with a dunk. It took the lead to 37-21 with just over three minutes gone in the half.

The Mustangs (13-15) went nearly four minutes into the half without a point. They only scored three points in the quarter, each coming from the free-throw line. Laguna ended the quarter by scoring the final five points. Kesler completed a three-point play and after Matt Jones missed from three-point range, the junior guard hustled to make a quick steal, then fed senior guard Jake Dalke for an easy layup with nine seconds left in the quarter.

The Breakers took a 42-24 lead into the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach with another 8-0 run to open up the quarter. Salesian didn't score its first basket of the second half until center Mario Lopez (15 points) scored on a short bank shot with 5:59 left in the game.

The Mustangs scored only 12 points in the second half and committed 15 turnovers in the game.

Blanton led all scorers with 20 points, which included three dunks. Kesler scored 19 and junior guard Alec Wulff scored 15.

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