Edison pushed, but knocks out Loyola
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Edison boys basketball coach Rich Boyce saw the look in his players’ eyes during the timeout moments after star guard Brae Ivey fouled out with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“They looked a little furious,” Boyce said.
Top-seeded Loyola of Los Angeles also had trimmed a 21-point deficit to six points, but the host Chargers weren’t ready to concede Tuesday night.
Edison received 12 fourth-quarter points off the bench from sophomores Randall Walker and Nate Matthews, and Jake Haar added a pair of critical 3-pointers to stun the Cubs, 79-65, in the CIF-SS Division 1A semifinals.
Moments after the fourth-seeded Chargers (25-6) reached their first final since 1994, the Edison faithful stormed the players at midcourt while Boyce picked up his 12-year-old son, Kyle, in a courtside hug.
“They’re great kids and they’ve faced adversity all year long,” Boyce said of his team, which will face No. 2 seed Foothill in the final Saturday at the Honda Center. “They’re so tough. They’re so hard-nosed.”
Edison led, 58-52, when Ivey fouled out on his second consecutive charging foul. But just moments later, Matthews scored on a fastbreak layup after Edison rebounded a 3-point attempt and fired a quick outlet pass to Matthews streaking from the backcourt.
Loyola (20-10) inched closer as Josh Lavergne sank a corner 3-pointer with 3:15 left to cut Edison’s lead to 62-58. But Haar responded with consecutive 3-pointers to help the Chargers pull away.
Garrett White also grabbed a key offensive rebound with 1:30 left that led to a layup by Walker for a 70-62 lead.
Edison matched its season high by making 14 of 26 3-pointers, including 7 of 10 in the first quarter. The Chargers’ bench outscored Loyola’s reserves, 19-5, and Edison rebounded well enough against the taller Cubs.
“Nate, Randall and Jeremiah (Lewis) were tough off the bench,” Boyce said. “That was the key. I thought our starters did what they normally do.”
AJ Garrity paced Edison with 21 points while Ivey added 18 and Haar chipped in 13. Matthews scored seven of his 10 in the fourth, and Walker poured in five of his seven in the final period.
"We persevered through adversity," Ivey said. "If I foul out every game, and we still win every game, so be it. ... It's about the team."
Edison's Derek Molina made all 3 of his 3-pointers in the first quarter to help spark the Chargers' 7 for 10 effort from beyond the arc. The Chargers built their largest lead at 40-19 on a 3-pointer by Garrity after an offensive rebound with 5:40 left in the second quarter.
Edison made 11 of 18 3-pointers in the first half. Loyola sank three 3-pointers to match the Chargers shot-for-shot early but couldn't maintain the pace. Cubs coach Jamal Adams compared Edison's attack like being hit by a tidal wave.
"I don't think a lot of teams beat them tonight," he said. "They had us on the ropes early."
Loyola featured UC Irvine-bound guard Max Hazzard (16 points), Cornell-bound 6-foot-8 forward Stone Gettings (18 points) and 6-foot-10 center Henry Welsh (16 points), the brother of UCLA center Thomas Welsh. But Edison fronted the post players well and offered weak-side help. "We beat them with with speed and quickness,' Ivey said.
And plenty of toughness.
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