David Morgulies, the Edison High School point guard who spends most of the time dribbling and barking offensive signals for the Chargers, got a chance to be a hero Friday night and made the most of it.
Morgulies, who didn't attempt a shot from the floor during Edison's nonleague game against Long Beach Poly, sank two free throws with seven seconds remaining to lift the Chargers to a 40-38 win over the Jackrabbits at Edison High.
Poly had gone ahead, 38-37, on Mike Herring's jump shot with 12 seconds left, but Morgulies was fouled by Chris Roscoe on Edison's ensuing possession. Morgulies made his free throws in the one-and-one situation to put the Chargers in front.
Edison forward Chris Cole then came up with the defensive play of the game, knocking the ball away from Poly's Keith Crawford and into the hands of Rich Smith, who was fouled as the buzzer sounded. Smith made one of two free throws to account for the final score.
The Chargers (10-3), who trailed by as many as nine points in the second period, came back to tie it in the third quarter and were ahead by five, 37-32, with 2 minutes left in the fourth.
But the Jackrabbits staged a comeback of their own, capitalizing on two Edison turnovers and jump shots by Crawford and Herring to pull to within one, 37-36. Herring then followed his own miss with a short jumper to give Poly the lead with 12 seconds left, but the Jackrabbits (7-5) couldn't hold on.
Herring led Poly with 15 points and Roscoe added 10 points, but Edison forward Ken Ammann was the game's leading scorer with 20.
Both teams shot poorly from the floor, as Edison made 15 of 38 attempts for 39% and Poly made 14 of 40 shots for 35%. There were 23 turnovers (12 by Poly and 11 by Edison) and 30 fouls.
In the first half, Edison was 5 of 19 from the field (26%) and Poly was 4 of 20 (20%). After playing to a 7-7 tie in the first quarter, the Jackrabbits, perennial basketball powers who have played in seven Southern Section championship games in the past 10 years, scored 11 straight points to take an 18-7 lead.
The Chargers finally scored on Ammann's two free throws with 3:11 left in the half and then scored two more baskets in the last 2:23 to make it 18-14 at halftime.
"We scored 14 points in the first half and were only down by 4," Edison Coach Jon Borchert said. "I felt like I got a reprieve from the governor. Neither team was looking to put the ball in the hole, were they?"
Things got a little better in the third quarter, when Cole heated up for the Chargers. He had missed all five of his shots in the second quarter but was 3 for 3 in the third to help bring Edison back. Ammann also scored six points in the period, with his two baskets and two free throws tying the game on three different occasions.
The Chargers took their first second-half lead, 32-30, on Smith's basket from inside with 5:13 to play. Edison finally got inside of Poly's zone defense, as both Ammann and Doug Katona scored from close range later in the period.
"We've been scoring in the 70's and 80's and it worries me when we have games like this, but a lot of it had to do with their defense," Borchert said. "We did a much better job of attacking their zone in the second half and some shots started opening up for us."
LONG BEACH POLY (38)--Benson 3, Herring 15, Roscoe 10, Camper 2, Wade 2, Crawford 4, Sadler 2.
EDISON (40)--Morgulies 3, Henderson 6, Ammann 20, Smith 3, Cole 6, Katona 2.