Estancia uses strong finish to win battle with Laguna Beach
LAGUNA BEACH – For three quarters, Estancia’s girls basketball team couldn’t shake off Laguna Beach.
In each quarter, the Eagles would gain some separation only to watch as the Breakers used long-distance shooting to reduce the lead back to one point.
In the fourth quarter, senior guard Maya Van Den Heever took over, scoring 11 of her game-high 23 points to help Estancia to a 53-43 win in an Orange Coast League game at Laguna Beach High.
The win gave the Eagles (14-6, 4-0) sole possession of the league lead. Senior Neff Van Den Heever added 11 points and 16 rebounds.
“I don’t know what I’d do without them, but I guess next year I’ll have to find out,” Eagles coach Judd Fryslie said of the Van Den Heever twins. “This was an important win.”
Rebounds and second-chance points were critical factors for Estancia. The Eagles outrebounded Laguna Beach, 39-22, and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
Sophomore Finley Garnett had eight of those offensive boards and finished with 19 points.
“We’ve had to focus on (rebounding) all year because we’re short,” Fryslie said. “Our tallest player is a guard, but we do the best we can.”
After a slow start from both teams, Maya Van Den Heever stretched Estancia’s lead to 19-12 with back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter.
The Breakers responded. Jackie Cenan scored eight of her 14 points in the quarter to reduce the Estancia’s lead to 26-25 at the break.
Alexandra Lewis (15 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers to close the third quarter to again reduce Estancia’s lead to one point.
Cenan, the Breakers’ best interior defender, picked up her fourth foul during the first minute of the fourth quarter and Maya Van Den Heever took advantage.
After hitting a 3-pointer to open the quarter, the senior added three driving layups, forcing Cenan to move out of her way to avoid a foul call.
The Breakers (12-7, 3-1) lost junior point guard Nicole Davidson to a knee injury in the third quarter. Laguna Beach already lost senior Amy Nygaard to an ACL injury during a tournament in Hawaii last month.
“Our bench was short, but I’m proud of the way the team fought tonight,” Breakers coach Mark Lewis said. “We’ll have to make some adjustments and go forward from there.”