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East shoots out to victory

Edwards' 23 points lead team in Foothill Senior Game

Posted: March 15, 2009 2:09 a.m.
Updated: March 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The East's Mark Watanabe (3), representing Saugus, drives to the basket against the West's David Franklin (22), representing West Ranch, during Saturday's Foothill League Senior Game at Bross Gymnasium at The Master's College.

 
Defense took a back seat to entertainment in Saturday’s Foothill League Senior Game held at Bross Gymnasium on the The Master’s College campus.

The East used hot shooting to build an early lead and overcome its size disadvantage to capture a 101-96 win in a game designed to showcase the Foothill League’s boys basketball talent.

“We wanted to put something together for the players and the community,” said former Saugus girls coach and East head coach East Eric Olsson. “I don’t think a lot of people realize the kind of ability the kids in our league have.”

The East wasted little time putting its three-point ability on display, hitting three shots from beyond the arc in the first two minutes to build a 9-0 lead.

“I’ve been practicing my shot a lot,” said East swingman and Mike Edwards, from Canyon. “It was feeling really good tonight, and we got a lot of outside shots to drop, especially early.”

The East hit 10 treys in the first half and took a 50-41 edge at the intermission.

“It’s an all-star game so the fans got what they wanted, threes and dunks,” Olsson said. “It’s not your typical style of basketball, but it was fun.”

The first dunk came when the East’s Mark Watanabe connected with Steven Thornton on a fastbreak, and the West evened the slam tally with a Toki Oshodi flush just before the half.

“It’s a lot of these guys’ first time playing together because we didn’t have any time to practice,” said former Saugus boys coach and West head coach Jeff Hallman. “I wasn’t expecting to see a whole lot of defense out there.”

Both teams continued having little trouble getting into the paint in the second half. Hakeem Bradley led the West with 21 points and Edwards paced the East with 23 as both teams used a heavy rotation to get all the players on the floor.

“I told them to put a hand or do something on defense,” Hallman joked when current Saugus boys basketball head coach Derek Ballard asked him what he told his players during timeouts. “It didn’t quite happen.”

The East came up with a rare defensive gem when Jonathan Lawson stuffed a layup attempt by David Franklin, bringing much of the crowd to its feet.

“It was just really a good time to get out and play with these guys,” Edwards said. “Everyone on this team has been really cool, and it was nice to have the chance to play one more game with some of my teammates too.”

Edwards iced the game with a three late in second half to stretch the East’s lead to nine and prompting an “M-V-P” chant from the crowd.

“We feel like this is a great way to honor the seniors,” Olsson said. “It’s fitting that we had this at a religious college because these guys have great character.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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