Edison High School administrators tried their best Wednesday night to take the sting out of the ruling by Sunset League officials that ordered the Chargers to forfeit five league wins and ended any postseason playoff hopes.
Charger Coach Jon Borchert called his team's game against rival Fountain Valley "our CIF playoff game." All the players were introduced with their parents before the opening tipoff at center court. Even activities director Bruce Belcher got into the act, leading the students in a lively cheer.
But all the efforts seemed to be futile as the Chargers went through the motions in a 48-46 loss as both teams played uninspired basketball in what traditionally is one of Orange County's best rivalries.
Forward Carlos Briceno and guard Simon Thomas made key free throws in the final 40 seconds of play as Fountain Valley improved its record to 7-2. Edison fell to 0-9, although only four of the losses have come on the basketball court.
The Chargers were tied with Fountain Valley for second place before league officials voted, 5-1, in favor of imposing the forfeitures after it was discovered that Servite transfer Baron Coenen was ineligible.
The only consolation for Edison is that league officials have scheduled another meeting at noon today at Huntington Beach High to allow Coenen and his parents to appeal the ruling. Coenen was eligible under Southern Section rules and Edison officials think the penalty was too severe.
"If no new evidence is presented at the meeting, then we plan to appeal to the CIF," Edison principal Jack Kennedy said.
But Borchert doesn't expect league officials to change their ruling and isn't counting on the Southern Section office to act on the matter.
When Borchert was asked, "What now?" he simply replied, "Next year."
FOUNTAIN VALLEY (48)--Briceno 13, L. Zeno 2, Martin 17, Thomas 6, Horner 4, Emerson 4, Gordon 2.
EDISON (46)--Ammann 12, Dubose 4, McConnell 8, Wheelwright 2, Katona 14, Cole 6.
In other Sunset League play:
Westminster 55, Marina 42--Edison's loss may become Westminster's gain. The Lions gained two victories when Edison had to forfeit five games and now Westminster is in a position to earn a playoff berth if it can upset Ocean View Friday night.
Tim Davis scored 18 points and Eric Schurman added 12 points as the Lions improved their record to 4-5 in league play, their best record since Ocean View joined the league in 1979. The Lions had never won more than two league games in one season during that span.
Schurman scored 12 points in the first half before gaining his fourth foul and had to sit out most of the second half. Freshman Steve Guild paced Marina (3-6) with 16 points.
MARINA (42)--Craft 4, Pi 2, Georgeson 8, Guild 16, Knuff 2, Crane 4, Quinn 6.
WESTMINSTER (55)--Dever 14, Schurman 13, Davis 18, Smith 2, Harris 6, Love 2.
Ocean View 82, Huntington Beach 60--Point guard Blaine DeBrouwer scored 24 points and had 5 assists as the Seahawks breezed to their ninth straight league win in Huntington Beach's gym.
DeBrouwer made 11 of 17 field goal attempts and center Ricky Butler added 12 points and 5 rebounds. Reserve Mike Flynn was the top rebounder for the Seahawks with 10.
Huntington Beach (4-5) fell into a tie for third place with Westminster in a battle for the league's final playoff spot.
OCEAN VIEW (82)--Panzica 4, Straight 8, Butler 12, Labat 13, DeBrouwer 24, Hazely 6, Flynn 4, McGlinchey 2, Halverson 2, Hocker 7.
HUNTINGTON BEACH (60)--Howard 21, Zitz 5, Hanavan 19, Champion 6, Snow 4, Harrigan 3, Edwards 2.