Edison guard Randall Walker gets free for a layup against Ayala in Saturday's CIF-SS Division 2AA championship.

Edison can't keep up with athletic Ayala


ANAHEIM – Sometimes, no matter how good a team’s effort is, that team will lose to a better team.

Edison ran into a better team Saturday.

The Chargers lost to Ayala of Chino Hills, 63-49, in the CIF-SS Division 2AA boys basketball championship game at Honda Center.

Edison’s season is not over. Chargers coach Rich Boyce said he was told Edison (24-8) will be selected to play in the CIF Southern California Regionals, the qualifying tournament for the CIF State championships.

Ayala (30-3) won its first CIF-SS boys basketball championship and will try to keep its season going in the regionals.

Boyce was impressed by the Bulldogs.

“Watching them on tape doesn’t do justice to how athletic they are,” Boyce said. “I thought we did a good job against them early. I told our kids at halftime that we were right in this game.”

Ayala’s halftime lead was 28-21, and Edison quickly trimmed the margin to five points. But Nate Matthews, Edison’s second-leading scorer and its best defensive player, got personal fouls Nos. 3 and 4 in the first minute of the quarter.

With Matthews on the bench, Ayala got going and outscored the Chargers, 19-8, in the third quarter to take a 47-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

Edison guard Randall Walker, like Matthews a junior, said the Chargers rarely had played such a superior team.

“They killed us on the boards and on the fastbreak,” Walker said. “They’re a very athletic team.”

Edison lost to Foothill in last season’s CIF-SS Division 1A championship game, 65-58. In the Chargers’ other CIF-SS boys basketball final, they lost to Mater Dei in the 1A final in 1994.

Matthews led Edison with 16 points and seven rebounds. Walker scored 11.

Brackets for the regionals will be released today. First-round games for Divisions 1-5 are Wednesday and the Open Division starts Friday.

Austen Awoskia, a senior guard who signed with Cal State Fullerton, and senior forward John Edgar led Ayala with 19 points apiece.

Ayala shot 54 percent from the field. Edison shot 29 percent from the field.

Ayala played a 2-3 zone throughout the game. A zone is a common defense at Honda Center, where high school players notoriously shoot poorly. The deep backdrops at Honda Center are a challenging depth-perception issue for high school shooters accustomed to the backdrops of high school gyms.

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