5-A PREP BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS : Hanlon and Defense Lead Edison, 69-62, Over No. 3 St. Anthony
Amid the celebration and disbelief at St. Anthony High School, Edison’s Chip Hanlon looked down at his feet and smiled. “It’s funny, I sprained both my ankles tonight,” he said.
It’s funny, Hanlon didn’t play like it.
Led by Hanlon’s 23 points and a stingy second-half defense, Edison eliminated third-seeded St. Anthony from the Southern Section 5-A playoffs Thursday night with a 69-62 victory.
Hanlon scored five points in the fourth quarter, including three free throws. As a team, the Chargers were 9 of 11 from the foul line in the final quarter to hold off a stunned St. Anthony team. Edison led, 64-58, with 1:33 left in the game, but Darrick Martin scored four consecutive points to cut the deficit to two.
A Hanlon free throw gave the Chargers a 65-62 lead with 21 seconds left. St. Anthony went for the tie, but Alan Aragon missed a three-pointer and Hanlon batted the rebound out to teammate Mike Foster, who was fouled.
Foster, who scored 17 points, made both free throws to give Edison a 67-62 lead.
Edison (17-10) will face Mater Dei, a 76-66 winner over Notre Dame Thursday night, next Thursday night a site to be determined today.
“People have been saying all year that our league was down this year,” said Edison Coach Jon Borchert, whose team finished third in the Sunset League. “Well, our league prepared us for this.”
St. Anthony (21-5) entered the playoffs with not only the No. 3 seeding, but Martin, who is one of the most prolific scorers in Southern Section history.
Martin, considered one of the best high school point guards in the nation, came into the game averaging 33.4 points a game. He finished with 25 points and was just 9 of 25 from the field.
Edison defenders, Dirk Paul in particular, harassed Martin, forcing him to shoot off-balanced shots.
“We wanted to flatten Martin out,” Borchert said. “We wanted to take him away as a penetrater and make him go towards the baseline.”
The plan was successful for the most part, but it had its disadvantages.
During the first half, the Chargers kept Martin outside by using a variety of zone defenses. However, St. Anthony was able to clean up on the offensive boards.
The Saints led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter and held a 37-28 halftime edge.
“We just don’t block out well in a zone defense,” Borchert said. “They got five baskets on offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone. I’d rather Martin would have scored 10 points from the outside.”