Edison girls’ basketball clinches at least a share of Wave League title on emotional night

Edison's Bailey Chang goes up for a shot against Huntington Beach's Traci Ann Mori during a Wave League game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

On what will likely always be a melancholy anniversary for the Edison High girls’ basketball program, the Chargers honored the memory of one of their own — first with their actions, then with their play.

A moment of silence was held for alumnus Christina Mauser, who was among the nine lost in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant three years to the day. It lasted 34 seconds to match her jersey number when she played at the school.

Then Edison took its home court and handled Huntington Beach to the tune of a 56-32 victory, clinching at least a share of the Wave League title with a week left in the season.

Edison's Skyler Vapor goes up for a shot against Huntington Beach's Traci Ann Mori during a Wave League game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“We want to make sure that she’s always remembered because she was a basketball player,” Edison coach Stephanie Ontiveros said of honoring Mauser. “It was her favorite sport out of the sports she played. There’s a lot of alumni who played with her that are still connected. … They’re very supportive, and we want to keep that community together.”

Marina defeated visiting Laguna Beach 60-53 in overtime, giving Edison a two-game lead over both the Vikings and the Breakers with two games remaining. The result helped Edison win its first league title since 2012.

The Chargers did their part, finding their rhythm after starting an all-senior lineup that played the whole first quarter. Edison (14-12, 4-0) pulled away following an opening period that ended with the score tied 8-8.

Edison's Taylor Backman goes up for a shot against Huntington Beach's Lauryn O'Neill, left, and another defender.
Edison’s Taylor Backman goes up for a shot against Huntington Beach’s Lauryn O’Neill, left, and another defender on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“They’re very coachable,” Ontiveros said. “They care about each other. I told them tonight, ‘Let’s enjoy the seniors. We are honoring our eight seniors.’ All of them have been in the program for all four years.”

Bailey Chang had a senior night to remember for Edison. The Chargers’ point guard made seven three-pointers to key a 25-point performance, adding four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

She simply could not miss from beyond the arc, even hitting a buzzer-beater from the top of the key to send the Chargers into the halftime locker room with a 28-21 lead.

Edison's bench celebrates during a Wave League girls' basketball game against Huntington Beach on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“I could definitely feel our energy go up,” Chang said of the exciting conclusion to the first half. “I was happy to do that for my team.”

Mia Cassel added eight points and four assists for Edison. Mylinda Nguyen had six points on a couple of three-pointers, and Sofia Aviles provided five points and three rebounds.

Huntington Beach (8-18, 0-4) had its season derailed by injuries. Four players were effectively out for Thursday’s game, the exception being a special opening-possession moment shared by the Chargers and the Oilers.

Huntington Beach's Lauren Matsumoto runs up court with Edison's Bailey Chang in pursuit on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Edison’s Kat Rumsey and Huntington Beach’s Akemi Tanga, two seniors out due to injury, had a chance to take the floor and make uncontested in-game layups.

“I think that’s awesome to honor kids that have worked so hard for four years and had a bit of bad luck,” Huntington Beach coach Russell McClurg said. “To be able to give them their moment of, ‘Hey, we haven’t forgotten about you. You’re a big part of this program.’

“It was great that Steph agreed to do that, as well, having her come up with, ‘Let’s do this.’ I’m real happy for the kids that can’t continue to play. It’s special.”

Lauren Matsumoto finished with 10 points and three steals to lead Huntington Beach. Isobel Melitas scored seven points. Mia Chang and Crystal Clark each had four points, and Jaylee Kao contributed five steals.

Edison's Mia Cassel battles for a ball against Huntington Beach's Isobel Melitas during a Wave League game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Wave League

Edison 56, Huntington Beach 32


Huntington Beach 8 – 13 – 9 – 2 32

Edison 8 – 20 – 15 – 13 56

HB — Matsumoto 10, Melitas 7, Clark 4, Chang 4, Mori 3, Tanga 2, Kao 2.

3-pt. goals — Melitas 2, Chang 1, Mori 1.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — None.

E — Chang 25, Cassel 8, Nguyen 6, Aviles 5, Savage 4, Takushi 3, Backman 2, Rumsey 2, Bowers 1.

3-pt. goals — Chang 7, Nguyen 2, Aviles 1, Takushi 1.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — None.


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