Edison stands tall late, upends West Potomac to earn journey to states

Edison stands tall late, upends West Potomac to earn journey to states
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Edison senior Nader Chirchi stood patiently on the fringe of the paint, poised in case a West Potomac participant drove to the basket within the closing moments of Thursday’s Class 6 Area C semifinal.

Positive sufficient, the Wolverines got here on the 6-foot-8 Chirchi. He was prepared, swatting the ultimate try to seal a 48-45 win in Alexandria.

First-year Edison coach Tre’ Ford had been preaching protection all 12 months, so it solely stood to cause that the Eagles punched their ticket to the state match with one last stand, finishing a 12-point second-half comeback.

“Coach got here as much as me earlier than the play, yelling at me to step it up,” Chirchi mentioned. “In order that’s what we did. We stepped it up.”

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Each the Eagles (21-6) and the Wolverines (17-9), with 5 new starters, might very effectively have labeled the 2022-23 marketing campaign a “rebuilding 12 months.” Each determined in opposition to it.

West Potomac gained 9 video games by two or fewer possessions en path to a Patriot District championship, enjoying with extra tempo and aggression because the season progressed. Edison leaned on its senior class. The Eagles’ motivation was to lastly make the state match. The onus was on its seniors to steer by instance.

On Saturday, Edison will face No. 5 Hayfield (26-1) for the fourth time this season, with the winner taking residence the area title.

“I advised them, ‘It’s robust to play for me — it’s important to grind on protection to play for me,’ ” Ford mentioned. “So proper now, I can’t get this smile off my face.”

West Potomac matched Edison’s effort all through. Simply minutes in, the Wolverines had drawn three fees, invigorating their residence crowd. By halftime, West Potomac had constructed a 31-19 lead.

“That wasn’t the primary time we’ve had adversity,” mentioned Edison sophomore Anthony Saunders, who had a team-high 15 factors. “We by no means really feel like we’re [out].”

The Eagles clawed their means again, trimming their deficit to seven earlier than Saunders closed the third quarter with a half-court buzzer beater to chop the Wolverines’ result in 4. With three minutes left, senior Ruben Garces linked from deep, giving Edison its first lead because the first quarter.

From there, Chirchi and the Eagles’ protection took management, yielding simply two factors the remainder of the way in which.

“That’s our man,” Garces mentioned. “We knew he was going to come back up clutch.”

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