Phillips leads way as Edison knocks off Esperanza in Division 1 first round game

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Edison’s game plan going into its CIF-SS Division 1 boys basketball first-round playoff game against Esperanza on Wednesday was to stay glued to the Aztecs’ two best shooters and win the rebound battle.

The Chargers did both and wound up with an 86-62 victory at Edison High.

Edison will take Oak Park, the division’s No. 1 seed, in a second-round game Friday at Oak Park.

Spencer Servin led the Chargers with 21 points, but the big difference maker was arguably the 6-foot-8 Josh Phillips, who grabbed 16 rebounds, including eight from the offensive end, and scored 11 points.

“We went over this in practice,” Phillips said. “Coach (Rich) Boyce told me to grab every rebound on the floor.”

The Chargers’ game plan was to guard the perimeter and stay close to forward Brendan Harrick, an excellent 3-point shooter, and guard Julian Almazan, one of Esperanza’s top scorers, Boyce said.

Harrick finished with 21 points, including five 3-pointer, but every 3-pointer came in the second half, when the Chargers were well ahead.

“He took a lot of the stuff they wanted to do away,” Boyce said of Phillips. “This was one of the best games he’s played in a while. He was very into the game and very focused. When (the Aztecs) beat guys, they go to the basket, but there was Josh.”

Edison led 27-16 in the second quarter when the Aztecs went on a 7-0 run to get within four.

The Chargers closed out the half on 10-0 run, which included 3-pointers from Matt Palma and Servin, to lead 37-23 at the half.

Harrick hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter to get the Aztecs to within 10, but Edison responded with a 10-2 run and then 22-7 run to close out the quarter, taking a 63-38 lead into the fourth.

“We talked about a game plan and they executed,” Boyce said. “They deserve all the credit.”

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