With close to three minutes left in the opening quarter, the Edison High boys' basketball team had three times as many turnovers as it had points. It was an uncharacteristic start for the Chargers.
After a timeout, Coach Rich Boyce looked up at the scoreboard, and his Chargers trailed by seven at Huntington Beach. His team had only scored two points, while it turned it over six times.
Boyce remembered how the last visit to the same gym played out last season, Edison losing a close one.
The Chargers kept it tight again on Wednesday, scoring the final eight points in the first quarter to take the lead. They never fell behind again, thanks to guards Randall Walker and David Atencio.
Walker finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a block, and Atencio added 17 points, six steals and four rebounds, keeping Edison undefeated in Sunset League play with a 64-54 win.
Edison (13-3, 2-0 in league), which is on the CIF Southern Section Open Division watch list, pulled away in the third quarter, going ahead by as many as 11 points. Atencio scored eight points in the third quarter, all coming inside the paint, and Walker chipped in five, including one of his three three-pointers.
"We're going to go as those two guys go," Boyce said of Walker and Atencio. "They lead us. They give us high energy. They move the ball for us. They can obviously score."
Scoring was an issue for Edison at the beginning, not for the hosts.
Hayden Moore, who finished with 12 points, drained a three-pointer, helping the Oilers score nine of the first 11 points. During the stretch, Edison either turned the ball over or missed a shot.
Despite making only one of their first five shots and committing six turnovers in the first five minutes, the Chargers rallied to take a 10-9 lead. Matt Serven knocked down a three-pointer and Atencio had two layups.
Huntington Beach (11-8, 0-2) was unable to get back in front. Edison went ahead by as many as three points five times in the second quarter, but it couldn't distance itself.
Walker allowed the Chargers to go into the break with a 25-23 lead by making a layup before time expired. Other than Walker, who had 11 first-half points, matching his jersey number, and seven rebounds, it was a brutal first two quarters for both sides. Edison and Huntington Beach each turned the ball over 11 times.
"I've never seen us do that. We probably turned the ball over seven times in the first 10 possessions," Boyce said. "After we settled down, I thought we executed well."
Walker put the game away in the fourth quarter, producing nine points. The Chargers are atop the league with defending champion Los Alamitos. The Griffins edged Newport Harbor, 56-53, on Wednesday.
Walker and the Chargers travel to Newport Harbor on Friday. Last season, the Sailors pulled off a 61-51 upset at home against Edison, forcing a coin flip afterward to determine the league's No. 2 entry into the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs.
Edison won the coin flip, and it went on to reach the section finals for the second straight season, while Newport Harbor exited in the first round.
"That was the only thing that went right that day, was that we won the coin flip," Boyce said with a smile.
"There's nothing easy on the road. [Newport Harbor Coach] Bob Torribio does such a great job with what they do and they're going to be ready for us."
Josh Phillips will also make his return to Newport Harbor, this time as a visitor. Phillips, a 6-foot-8 junior, transferred from Newport Harbor to Edison.
Phillips will try to create problems for the Sailors, the same way he did against Huntington Beach. He blocked four shots.
Edison 64, Huntington Beach 54
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Edison 10 – 15 – 20 – 19 — 64
Huntington 9 – 14 – 14 – 17— 54
E – Walker 25, Atencio 17, M. Serven 8, Tuato 4, Phillips 3, S. Serven 3, Matthews 2, Silva 2.
3-pt. goals – Walker 3, M. Serven 2, S. Serven 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
HB – Moore 12, Brodt 10, Starkel 10, Mitchel 8, Gonzalez 7, Sueda 5, Ortiz 2.
3-pt. goals – Moore 2, Mitchel 2, Starkel 2, Gonzalez 1.
Fouled out – None.