Chaminade cruises past Laguna Beach

When the CIF fields playoff brackets 31 teams deep, it gives a great opportunity for teams who might have struggled in the regular season to  prove themselves and experience the thrill of a playoff game, but it also can cause some major mismatches in the earlier rounds. Chaminade and Laguna Beach saw this Friday night, with Chaminade running away with the second-round game right from the opening tip, 72-53. 

Coach Todd Wolfson used an unconventional starting lineup for the Eagles, perhaps to give some of the younger guys experience. Instead of the usual starting lineup of Ogundiran, Oguine, Cuenca, Dolan, and Porath, Wolfson inserted freshman Mike Wilson, sophomore Sebastian Lopez, and senior Joel Loth to play alongside Aiden Dolan and Jake Porath. 

The young lineup played well together, but two quick fouls to Lopez caused Wolfson to send Oguine and Ogundiran into the game. As the two senior stars came in, offense came instantly. By the end of the first, Ogundiran had 10 of Chaminade’s 16 points. 

The Eagles really started to run away with this game in the second quarter . Oguine, a player known for his jumping abilities, got a steal near the top of the key and everyone in the building knew what was coming. He flushed a thunderous dunk which put everyone on their feet. Only a couple possessions later, stretch-four Porath, a player known for his shooting and soft touch inside, threw down a put back dunk that sent the Chaminade Cage into a frenzy. The dunk might have been called off for offensive interference, but the energizing effect two quick jams had on the Eagles sure was not. After that, there was no looking back, as Chaminade dominated every remaining second of the game.

The bright side for the Laguna Beach Breakers? Freshman Blake Burzell. The star freshman lead the team with 21 points, however he would be needing much more help from his surrounding cast for this game to stay competitive. The final score aside, a big playoff game like this in a tough environment for Burzell means that Coach Brett Fleming should be optimistic for at least the next three seasons for Laguna Beach. 

Chaminade will go on to play Morningside at home on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The winner of that game goes on to play in the semifinals against Mission Prep or fellow Mission League team Harvard-Westlake. 

—Alec Neimand