Edison got what it had hoped for Friday: a shot at first place in the Sunset League boys' basketball race.
The Chargers, in fact, had three shots at a share of the league lead in the final 9.3 seconds of their showdown with Los Alamitos, but when the final buzzer sounded it was the visiting Griffins who were able to somehow survive.
Two of the three shot attempts Edison got off in a wild and frantic finish at Dave Mohs Gymnasium bounced off the rim — the other was blocked — and Los Alamitos was able to escape with a 52-51 victory that would give the Griffins at least a share of the 2014 league championship.
Los Alamitos, ranked No. 11 in CIF Southern Section Division 1AA, improved to 8-0 in league and took a two-game lead on Edison in the league standings with two games remaining. The Chargers, No. 6 in Division 1A, fell to 6-2 in league but still maintain sole possession of second place.
The Griffins (21-3) have league games next week with third-place Newport Harbor (5-3 league) and Huntington Beach (2-6 league).
The Chargers close out league play next week with games against Huntington and Fountain Valley (1-7).
Edison (19-5) had won four straight games since a 63-54 loss at Los Alamitos in their first league meeting Jan. 17, to stay in line for a possible league title.
Yes, Coach Rich Boyce said the Chargers got the shot that they wanted Friday.
"It was a good high school game tonight," Boyce said. "You saw two teams give it their all out there. We got what we wanted there at the end. The shots just didn't fall for us."
Edison pulled to within 50-49 with 20 seconds left when freshman guard Randall Walker drove for a layup over the reach of Los Alamitos junior forward Jack Kaub. Six seconds later, Kaub would score on an easy layup after teammate Khalid Washington beat Edison's press upcourt and found a wide open Kaub in the lane. Kaubs' basket put the Griffins up 52-49 with 14 seconds remaining.
On Edison's next trip up court, junior guard AJ Garrity was fouled on what appeared to be a shot attempt from beyond three-point range, but the foul occurred before Garrity's attempt. With the Chargers in the double bonus, Garrity was awarded two free throws and sank both with 9.3 seconds on the clock.
The Chargers were down, 52-51, but they got the ball right back when Griffins forward Ryan Kusch couldn't inbound the ball and was called for a five-second violation.
Boyce called time out to huddle his team for a final shot.
"We wanted to get the ball to Jake (Haar), and we did," he said. "That was our goal both times, and we set up both opportunities perfectly."
Junior guard Derek Molina rifled an inbounds pass to the corner where Haar caught the ball in front of the Edison bench. The junior guard had his three-point shot attempt swatted away right after his release by Washington. A mad scramble for the loose ball under the Edison basket resulted in a jump ball, and the possession arrow favored the Chargers.
With 5.3 seconds left, Haar got off another three-point attempt and this one found the cylinder but bounced out. Walker was able to tip the ball out from under the Edison basket and into the hands of teammate Garrett White as the final few seconds ticked away. The sophomore forward was able to get off a hurried shot, but his short jumper glanced off the rim as time expired.
Edison had a chance to win despite losing leading scorer Brae Ivey, who fouled out with 4:50 remaining. The Chargers trailed at that point, 44-42, but still hung with the Griffins down the stretch.
Ivey, a junior guard, was whistled for a charging call on a drive toward the Edison basket.
"Obviously, he's the engine that makes us go," Boyce said of Ivey, who exited the game with 13 points. "It was tough to lose him but our guys put their heart and soul out there, and we still had a chance to win at the end."
In other Sunset League action Friday: