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BILL ALKOFER , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Edison's Randall Walker is fouled as he goes up for a shot against Esperanza during Friday's game.

Walker, Matthews cover both ends of court for Edison

STAFF WRITER

IRVINE – Randall Walker led the Edison offense. Nate Matthews led its defense.

Walker scored 22 points, 15 in the second half, and Matthews kept Esperanza’s best player under wraps as Edison beat Esperanza, 64-54, Friday in a semifinal game in the Irvine World News/Gary Raya Classic boys basketball tournament at Northwood High.

Edison, 7-3 and ranked No. 8 in Orange County, will play Northwood (6-4) in the tournament championship game today at 6:15 p.m. at Northwood.

Esperanza 6-foot-6 junior Kezie Okpala went into the game averaging 24 points a game. He scored 37 on Wednesday against University. With Matthews, a 6-3 junior, aggressively challenging almost every shot, Okpala missed his first eight shots and finished with 14 points.

Esperanza (6-4) was getting enough scoring elsewhere in the first half, including nine points apiece from Jared Obermeier and Travis Kettering, to have a 33-29 lead at halftime.

“We were being lazy on defense,” admitted Walker, a 6-2 junior. “Coach yelled at us about that.”

Edison coach Rich Boyce said, “We were embarrassed about the way we played. Esperanza outhustled us and did everything else and deserved that nine-point lead.”

The Chargers outscored Esperanza by eight points in the third quarter to trim their deficit to one point, then scored 17 of the fourth-quarter’s first 21 points to take the lead and pull away.

David Atencio scored 13 points for Edison. Matthews scored 10, Jonah Tuato scored eight and Tommy Barlow scored eight with 12 rebounds.

Northwood 60, El Toro 56: Jacob Huynh scored 10 of his team-high 20 points as the Timberwolves advanced to the tournament championship game.

Northwood trailed, 43-41, going into the fourth quarter. Huynh, a 5-9 sophomore, made two quick baskets to put the Timberwolves on top, 45-43.

With 55 seconds remaining, Huynh made the last of his 3-pointers to give the Timberwolves a 58-53 lead.

Jake Linsky, a 6-7 senior, scored 16 points with 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for Northwood. Akshay Harishankar scored 13 points with two 3s.

Dawit Wilson, the quarterback on El Toro’s football team, led the Chargers (7-3) with 20 points.

Linsky, coming off of an outstanding junior year, got the double- and triple-teaming he likely will see all season. That creates 3-point opportunities for the Timberwolves.

“We’re trying to work a lot of inside-outside passing,” Huynh said. “When we’re wide open outside, we’ve got to hit those shots.”

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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