Inspired Edison faces Alamo Heights for 4A regional crown

Inspired Edison faces Alamo Heights for 4A regional crown

Credit: Antonio Morano / Special to Kens5.com

Left: Alamo Heights celebrates after a win over Lanier on Friday night, March 2, 2012 in the 4A Regional Semifinal. Right: Edison reacts after defeating Brennan 86-71 in the 4A Regional Semifinal earlier in the night. Edison (30-7) will play Alamo Heights (33-2) for the regional championship at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3, 2012, at Littleton Gym, where Friday night's two games were played before a crowd that swelled to nearly 5,000.

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by David Flores / Kens5.com

kens5.com

Posted on March 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 2:45 PM

John F. Kennedy was in the second year of his presidency the last time Edison advanced to the boys basketball regional basketball tournament in 1962.

Fifty years later, the Golden Bears are making up for lost time in a big way.

Recording one of the biggest victories in school history, in any sport, Edison rolled past Brennan 86-71 in the Region IV-4A semifinals Friday night to move within one win of a berth in next week's state tournament.

Led by senior guard Marco Guerrero, who scored a game-high 38 points, the Bears stunned Brennan with their aggressive play on both ends of the court.

"We just managed to keep our heads straight and play as a team," Guerrero said. "This is crazy. It's a big win for our whole community, not just Edison. I felt we were going to play a good game since I woke up this morning.

"I don't think we got the respect we deserved. Everybody was saying it was going to be Alamo Heights and Brennan playing for the championship, but we proved we're a great team ourselves."

Edison (30-7) will play Alamo Heights (33-2) for the regional championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at Littleton Gym, where Friday night's two semifinal games were played before a crowd that swelled to nearly 5,000.

Alamo Heights held off Lanier 72-58 in the nightcap. The Voks trailed only 61-58 with 1:57 left, but the Mules scored the last 11 points to keep their season alive.

Alamo Heights didn't so much beat the Voks as survive them.

"I told the guys in the scouting report a couple of days ago that they're going to be relentless," first-year Mules head coach Andrew Brewer said, referring to Lanier's players. "They're not going to stop coming at you."

High-scoring Brennan guard Azzinaro finishes with 33 points

Guerrero, who made 18 of 22 free throws, hit two long 3-pointers in the first quarter to help Edison end the period with a 27-14 lead after falling behind 8-0.

Arty Vela (13), Mike Espina (11) and David Casias (10) also scored in double figures for the Bears, who never trailed after Casias hit a 3-pointer to give Edison a 9-8 lead midway through the first quarter.

Brennan junior point guard John Azzinaro, the city's leading scorer, finished with 33 points and George King had 28. But the rest of the team was held to only 10 points.

"We wanted to be aggressive on both ends of the floor," Edison coach Art Vela said. "I knew we could run with them. A lot of people thought Brennan had fast transition, but I knew we could run and score like they score and then play some defense. We got some stops and slowed them down."

Vela said he was confident Guerrero, who had scored a total of 30 points in the Bears' first three playoff games, would have a big game in the regional semifinals.

"I was going to let him loose tonight," Vela said. "I had a feeling he was going to have a breakout game."

 Rodewald top scorer for Alamo Heights

 Vela said he thought Brennan, also nicknamed the Bears, was surprised by Edison's talent level.

"Maybe the whole city didn't respect us," Vela said. "I think a lot of people doubted the Golden Bears. I had a feeling they were going to underestimate us and maybe they were going to be looking toward Alamo Heights on Saturday.

"I knew that with the senior group I have, and the chemistry they have, I knew they'd come out and play and win this game."

Jeffrey Rodewald scored 19 points to set the pace for Alamo Heights in its victory against Lanier (29-7). Wes Miller (16), Ben Lammers (15) and Dylan Lieck (10) were the other Mules who finished with double-digit scoring.

Brewer, a 1994 Alamo Heights graduate who succeeded longtime Mules coach Charlie Boggess last May, said his team faces a formidable challenge against an inspired Edison team.

"Edison is awesome," Brewer said. "They were able to have three or four guys just absolutely shoot the lights out. We're going to have to, in order to be successful, weather that storm, because they're going to make shots.

"We just can't beat ourselves. We've got to close out properly. We're going to have to have everybody go to the boards and secure rebounds, and then attack with good spacing. I don't know if we really did that tonight because Lanier got us so out of our transition offense."

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