It was 3:15 p.m. Monday, 15 minutes before the start of Edison High’s girls basketball practice and at a time in which they are typically engaging in an upbeat shootaround.
This time – not 48 hours following a humbling 69-38 loss to Clovis West for the Central Section Division I title at Selland Arena – the Tigers could be found in a corner of the gym, moping and shooting nothing but eyes of depression toward each other.
Coach Bill Engel threatened to walk out: “I told them, ‘I’m not going to stay here and put up with this nonsense.’”
He then had a “4-minute come-to-Jesus” sermon with the players.
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And, guess what? A sequence of prayers were about to be answered.
The Tigers got through that dreadful practice, picked up the pace Tuesday and blew out Etiwanda 50-29 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southern California Division I playoffs at Edison.
That was against a ninth-seeded Eagles team from the Southern Section that sailed into Fresno with a 62.3-point scoring average.
And there would be more – much more.
About 1 1/2 hours after the game, the eighth-seeded Tigers learned they would remain home Saturday for the quarterfinals after No. 16 Oaks Christian-Westlake Village delivered a shocking 57-52 upset at top-seeded Bishop’s-La Jolla.
“We’re staying home, baby, we’re staying home,” Engel said.
We’re staying home, baby, we’re staying home.
Edison girls basketball coach Bill Engel in regard to a SoCal Regional Division I quarterfinal game against Oaks Christian-Westlake Village Saturday at 6 p.m.
Meaning: Instead of having to play Bishop’s and making the 330-mile drive to the affluent community of La Jolla in north San Diego – which generally is a wonderful thing to do – Edison need not pack a bag.
“We were getting ready to stay the night (in San Diego),” Engel said. “Then, oh my God, another home game for the Tigers.”
Edison’s win was the lone bright spot in an otherwise horrific first-round day for Central Section representatives in Divisions I-V of the SoCal Regionals. Outside of the Tigers, they went 0-27 while being outscored by an average of 25.4 points. And 26 of those games were on the road.
Open Division openers will be Friday at 7 p.m. And they’ll include Clovis West’s second-seeded girls at home against No. 7 Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth and Immanuel’s No. 8 boys at No. 1 Chino Hills, which is 31-0 and top-ranked nationally.
Edison, meanwhile, throttled Etiwanda (18-11) in every phase.
Rodjanae Wade, a 6-foot-2 senior center thrusting a miserable five-point, six-turnover game against Clovis West far into history, delivered 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
“The loss (to Clovis West) was heartbreaking,” she said. “We wanted Valley and we got there, but maybe it wasn’t for us. But we still have a chance to fight for our season.”
Ramani Parker, a 6-3 freshman, tag-teamed Etiwanda’s frustrations with eight points and 13 rebounds.
“They weren’t going to get past me,” Parker said. “I’m willing to protect the paint and help my teammates out.”
Jerrene Richardson bounced back from an early second-quarter ankle injury with 12 points, Malaya Kendrick added 10 and four-year point guard Liz Randles took command facilitating the tempo.
“We embarrassed ourselves, our team, family and everybody (against Clovis West),” Engel said. “I told my players we have a second chance (in the regionals). Not too many people get a second chance in life and this is ours.”
Etiwanda traveled 260 miles to shoot 14 percent (9 of 65).
Eagles coach Anders Anderson had a two-fold response.
First, in regard to his own team: “I’m extremely disappointed in the players’ offensive production. It was a terrible experience on our part and I apologize to all our parents who drove all the way up here.”
Second, in regard to the Tigers: “Edison forced us to miss, they did a great job of not fouling while altering our shots, pressuring us and pushing us out of our comfort zone. This hasn’t happened to us – ever.”