Wolverines defeat Breakers, advance to semifinals


Point guard Wolfgang Novogratz ’16 dribbles around a screen set by teammate Carter Begel ’17 during the third quarter of the game. Credit: Bennett Gross ’16/Chronicle

Bennett Gross

The Wolverines defeated the Laguna Beach Breakers in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS 4AA playoffs 72-57 on the road.

Both teams came out on fire, with the lead changing hands on almost every possession. At the end of the first period, the Wolverines trailed the Breakers 15-14.

Blake Burzell ‘18 and Isaac Wulff ‘16 led the Breakers the entire evening. They combined for 21 of the 28 first half points scored by Laguna Beach.

Wolfgang Novogratz ’16 was the leading first half scorer for Harvard-Westlake with 11.

Similarly to their last game against Workman where the game was within single digits at halftime with the Wolverines leading, Harvard-Westlake led Laguna Beach 33-28.

The Wolverines have established themselves as a second half team in their last two playoff games.

Against Workman, the Lobos only scored six points in the third and fourth quarters combined, and tonight’s matchup was eerily alike. In the third quarter, the Wolverines extended a five point halftime advantage to 12, as they led the Breakers 54-42, behind Carter Begel ’17, who had eight points in the period, including two three pointers.

Also in the third quarter, guard Ali Iken ’17 fell strangely on his left ankle and was unable to return to the game. He left the arena with a taped ankle and crutches.

The fourth quarter was no different, with freshman L Simpson ’19 scoring seven points and aiding the Wolverines off the bench in many ways other than scoring, including rebounding and smothering defense.

Novogratz finished with 22 points six rebounds and six assists, Simpson had 12 points and five steals, Stanley scored 11 points and Begel chipped in with 10 points of his own.

For the Breakers, Burzell ended the night with 28 points and Wulff scored 15 points.

This 72-57 win erased the Wolverines’ four-year CIF-SS quarterfinal losing streak.

The Wolverines will continue their playoff run on Friday at 7 p.m. at home against Mission League archrival Notre Dame in the semifinals.

In the squads’ previous two matchups, the Wolverines fell both times to the Knights. Notre Dame won the first matchup at home 65-63 on Jan. 8 on a Chibueze Jacobs ’16 tip-in at the buzzer. The Wolverines lost again on Jan. 29 75-70 at Taper Gymnasium.