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Laguna Beach at its 'worst' but still perfect in league
Costa Mesa trailed by one point with 11 seconds remaining, had possession of the basketball, but did not come close to attempting a shot.
It was that strange, and interesting, of a game.
Laguna Beach's boys basketball team defeated host Costa Mesa, 52-51, to remain undefeated in the Orange Coast League.
The defending league-champion Breakers are 16-6 overall and 5-0 in league. They have played all five league opponents and beaten them all.
Cole Kesler led Laguna Beach with 17 points. Josh Adams and Jake Dalke scored 13 points each for the Breakers.
Costa Mesa’s Sean Comer and Kyle Hefner scored 21 points apiece.
A summary of the strangeness: Laguna Beach had an 11-0 lead in the first quarter that positioned the Breakers for a lopsided triumph; Laguna’s Alec Wulff, who made five 3-pointers Friday, did not attempt a shot; Kesler made a line-drive, buzzer-beating 3-pointer from backcourt at the end of the third quarter, and he and his teammates reacted nonchalantly as if he had just made a layup; and Laguna Beach missed seven free-throws in the fourth quarter.
And that was just the Laguna Beach stuff.
“Probably the worst game we’ve played all year,” said Laguna Beach coach Bret Fleming.
Costa Mesa (7-14, 2-3) perhaps felt like the final 11 seconds was its worst segment of the year.
With his team leading, 52-48, and 57 seconds remaining, Dalke missed two free throws. At the other end, the Mustangs’ Comer banked in a 3-pointer to make it 52-51. With 17 seconds to go, Kesler, an 80-percent shooter at the foul line, missed two free throws.
Costa Mesa’s Daniel Azurin won the scramble for the rebound, and the Mustangs called time out. On the ensuing play, Comer in the backcourt took the inbounds pass that Dalke lunged for and missed, and Comer scooted upcourt with Costa Mesa having a 5-on-4 advantage. But the Mustangs could not create a shooting opportunity, and the final buzzer sounded without them taking a shot.
Fleming said his team seemed mentally out of it.
“We’re in the middle of finals,” he said, “and we looked like a bunch of kids that were all focused on finals and weren’t focused on playing.”
The Mustangs’ fortitude in coming back from that 11-0 deficit impressed Fleming.
“All credit to them,” he said. “They played really hard. And our kids, when things went sideways, I just started thinking, ‘I guess we’re going to have to struggle through this one.’ ”
Also in the Orange Coast League:
Estancia 63, Calvary Chapel 56: Josh Mendoza scored 22 points for the host Eagles (6-14, 2-3).
Godinez 55, Saddleback 35: Abraham Hernandez and Brandon Smith scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, for the visiting Grizzlies (11-10, 4-1).
In the Garden Grove League:
Santiago 69, Rancho Alamitos 57: Alex Robertson’s 21 points led the visiting Cavaliers (11-8, 4-1). David Nguyen scored 13 and Martin Piedra added 12 points for Santiago.La Quinta 70, Los Amigos 52: Miguel Flores scored 28 points to lead the host Aztecs (7-13, 2-3).
In the Orange League:
Katella 52, Magnolia 46: Taj Ashmeade scored 18 points and Angel Garduno added 16 for the host Knights (10-12, 4-1).