Edison building for the basketball title run

There are games that go into building a championship season.
Mike Greco
Aug 25, 2010

There are games that go into building a championship season.

For Edison, it's the 84-76 double overtime win Feb. 13 over St. Mary Central Catholic, the 71-67 single OT victory Feb. 6 over Margaretta, a 79-64 decision Dec. 20 over Perkins, and of course, the clincher -- 59-46 win Firday over defending champion Clyde.

But Chargers coach Chris Ceccoli isn't discounting what happened before the season began that helped his team capture their first-ever Sandusky Bay Conference crown. Edison joined the SBC in 1986 and its highest finish had been a second-place tie in 1993-94.

It was Nov. 14, 2008 -- three weeks before the regular season started in Edison High School's gymnasium.

"We had practice from 7 to 9 p.m., then spent the night in the gym,'' Ceccoli said. "We had NBA games on TV, ordered pizza, had team meetings, a midnight practice, dunk contest, three-point contest and played dodgeball.

"I think that was a great way to spend some time together,'' he added. "It went a long way to developing our success. Our team chemistry has been fantastic all year.''

After a 59-57 opening-game loss to New London, Edison reeled off nine straight wins. A loss to Perkins. Three more wins. A loss to Clyde. Four straight wins and Edison takes a 16-3 overall, 11-2 league mark into Friday's regular-season finale at Port Clinton.

"I'm very happy for our kids and our community,'' Ceccoli said. "I give the kids credit for buying into our system. We had high expectations and to see that hard work come through, I couldn't be more proud of our kids.''

Not that others believed Edison could win the SBC.

The Chargers were predicted to finish in the middle of the pack in the preseason poll.

"I thought there was so much balance in the league that three losses could win it,'' Ceccoli said. "We thought that if we could go undefeated at home and 4-3 on the road, we could win the league.

"We've had some success at home (9-1). Even after the Clyde loss (78-69 Feb. 9), it wasn't time to panic. We needed to pick up one more win on the road.''

That happened Friday in a front of packed house at Clyde.

The Chargers jumped out to a 33-13 halftime lead and held off the hosts in the fourth quarter.

"That was one of our best defensive performances of the year,'' Ceccoli said. "It was their last home game.''

Playing in front of the fans has been a highlight all season.

"It's great to give them something to be proud of,'' Ceccoli said. "Win or lose, this team is fun to watch. They do things the right way.''

Four players -- senior wing Jake Whitehouse, senior post Chris Baldwin and junior post Taylor Emody and junior wing Zach Yovanov -- are averaging between 14.5 and 11.7 points per game.

Baldwin leads the SBC in rebounding at 10.3 per outing, while senior guard Weston Strayer tops the SBC at 6.8 assists per outing.

"Taylor Emody is playing his best basketball over the last month and a guy that doesn't get a lot of credit is Wes Strayer, our one starter not averaging in double digits,'' Ceccoli said. "He's done a phenomenal job of distributing the ball. He just wants to win. He's been a key component to our success.

"We gotten great minutes from our bench, including senior Luke McCoy (48 percent from three-point range) and sophomore Michael Yost.''

Ceccoli is especially pleased to see the senior class, which also includes wing Patrick Shine and posts Cory Schmidt, Shane Dancy and Mike Laughlin, have the success.

"It's very difficult to stick with a basketball program,'' Ceccoli said. "They don't care about individual stats.''

It hasn't been an easy road, either.

The class went from 2-19 to 5-16 to 7-14 to this season's mark.

"It's been fun to watch them develop,'' Ceccoli said.

Ceccoli is in his fourth season as head coach.

"I've been fortunate to surround myself with good coaches,'' he said. "(Varsity assistant) Shayne Fischer and I are on the same page of what we want to accomplish.

"Mark Frankboner does a good job with the reserve team. They are 16-3 and playing for a SBC championship and Todd Robinson's freshman team went 14-5 this season. We've all been at the same level the last three years. It's good to have that continuity.''

With the victory over Clyde, Edison tied a school record with the 16 wins. They have a chance to break the school regular-season mark for wins against the Redskins, who have claimed six straight victories.

"We're looking at it as the final tune-up for the tournament,'' Ceccoli said. "I think it's important to play well for the tournament. What we're focusing on is trying to be the best we can be."