St. Edward holds off Aurora Central Catholic
Senior guard Will Gaston and the St. Edward boys basketball team prevailed 53-48 on Wednesday by denying visiting Aurora Central Catholic a shot to tie in the final seconds.
In fact, Gaston and the Green Wave didn't even let the Chargers inbound the ball.
Someone else had been guarding ACC leading scorer Kyle Czerak for most of the Metro Suburban Conference crossover and the 5-foot-11 senior guard went off for 29 points.
Thus, Gaston was assigned to slow Czerak as the Chargers attempted to inbound the ball in front of their own bench trailing 51-48 with 12.3 seconds left.
Czerak raced toward the inbounder but Gaston fronted Czerak and stayed between the two Chargers. Czerak pushed off to gain separation and was whistled for the offensive foul.
"At the end of the fourth quarter I marked up on (Czerak) because we didn't want him to get a last-second shot," Gaston said. "I was able to get close to him. He put his hands down and pushed me and we were able to get the call."
Czerak wasn't the first option on the play.
"We tried running something and they covered it really well so we didn't even get our first pass off that we wanted," he said. "Then we were just trying in desperation to get it in. We were in scramble mode and he just kind of caught me trying to get through."
Gaston was fouled and split a pair of free throws with 10.8 seconds left to make it a 2-possession game and A.J. Franklin split a pair after an ACC miss to seal the win.
Gaston was one of the offensive heroes for the Green Wave, too. The lead changed hands eight times in the second half, the last coming on his 3-pointer from the corner that staked the Wave to a 49-48 lead.
"We swing it to the corner and Will puts up the 3," said St. Edward leading scorer A.J. Franklin, who finished with 21 points. "That was a game-changer right there."
Following a Czerak missed shot, St. Edward junior guard Daniel Parks was fouled with 31 seconds left and sank a pair of free throws. Gaston finished with 17 points, Dylan Mlinarich scored 8 points and Parks added 5 points. ACC's next highest scorer behind Czerak was sophomore forward Colin Dean with 6 points.
"Coach says everyone should chip in for some points, that it can't be just one guy," Franklin said. "They had one guy that could score but the rest couldn't and we came out with the win."