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Edison can't get past Okonkwo, Etiwanda
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Edison guard Geena Gomez was well aware of the problems Etiwanda’s Amy Okonkwo presents to opponents. After all, the two played together at the West Coast Premier Basketball Academy and are close friends.
But Gomez and her Chargers teammates simply didn’t have the size to stop Okonkwo and a more physical Eagles squad on Wednesday night. Despite a team-high 22 points from Gomez, Edison’s season ended with a 79-50 loss to Etiwanda in the second round of the CIF-SS Division IAA playoffs.
“We had to play a perfect game for us to win this game,” Edison coach Dan Wiley said. “And we knew that coming in.”
Edison (18-8) played without starting forward Justine Modde, who Wiley said suffered a concussion and a severely sprained neck in Saturday's first-round victory over Chino Hills.
The freshman's absence certainly didn’t help, as fifth-seeded Etiwanda had its way on the boards and in the paint. Okonkwo, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, scored a game-high 28 points on 13 of 17 shooting, all from two-point range.
“She’s a beast,” Gomez said. “We played club together so we knew she was going to come up big. Can’t stop her.”
Erin Hitomi started in Modde’s place, scoring eight points, while Jackie Bento added six and Loli Gomez contributed five.
McKynzie Fort chipped in 18 points for Etiwanda (26-2), which is ranked the sixth-best Division I team in the state by CalHiSports.com.
Offensive rebounds by Etiwanda and a whopping 28 turnovers by Edison accounted for a large disparity in shot attempts. In one sequence, Okonkwo missed two attempts in the paint only to get two offensive boards and sink her shot the third time.
“Too big, too tough,” Wiley said. “They didnt shoot the ball that great but second and third shots, fourth shots on the inside killed us.”
Despite the season-ending defeat, the Chargers can take some solace in simply exceeding expectations this season.
“I think we shocked a lot of people cause we weren’t expected to do well,” said Gomez, who will play at Saint Joseph’s University next year. “But I’m really proud of my team.”
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