TORONTO - Hustling senior Brad Melville grabbed a rebound and swished an eight-foot jump shot with 1:32 left in the game and his Toronto Red Knights held on the rest of the way to pull out a 36-35 early season thriller over rival Edison last night at the Toronto gym.
Melville's goal gave the Red Knights a 36-34 lead and both teams had chances to score in the last minute and a half of the game, but the only point was a free throw, the second of two awarded to Edison sophomore Clay Woodward with 1:21 left, to narrow the game to one point.
The game was nip-and-tuck throughout with the lead changing hands 10 times and neither team ahead by more than five points.
TOUGH DEFENSE — Toronto’s Tyler Owens steals the ball from Edison’s Dylan Jones as Erik Lee trails the play during the Red Knights’ 36-35 victory Tuesday in Toronto.
-- Fred Younce
"I'm so proud of my kids," an exhausted John Leary said after the game. "We missed three straight one-and-ones there at the end, but, on the one, Blaze (Glenn) got his own rebound, which was a huge hustle play.
"We don't foul them. We had enough poise at the end. I've been talking to them all the pre-season about composure, poise and don't beat yourself. I thought we did a real good job of that tonight. We got three straight stops at the end of the game."
The final stop was a five-second call against a Wildcat ball handler with two seconds left on the clock.
"Mistakes. We're making too many mistakes. That's the key," said Edison coach Nate Moses. "They made plays and we didn't at the end of the game. That's it."
Edison committed 18 turnovers to seven for Toronto. The Wildcats had an advantage, though, in rebounding pulling down 34 off the glass to Toronto's 24.
The Wildcats, who were losing their third in a row, took a 20-19 lead at the half in the low scoring game, but it was tied at 26 all heading into the fourth quarter. Edison got the biggest lead by either team in the third period when they came out of the locker room with two straight field goals to go up by 24-19.
However, the Red Knights, winners of two straight to open the season, reeled off the next six points to take a one point lead as Melville, who didn't score in the first half, grabbed a long rebound, turned at the foul line and drilled in a jumper. Melville finished with 10 second half points, eight of them coming down the stretch in the fourth period.
"We don't have any excuses," Moses continued. "The bottom line is we didn't get the job done."
Moses, however, praised his senior big man, Ryan Kramarich. Kramarich only scored two points, but hauled down 12 rebounds and played a good defensive game with three blocked shots.
"Ryan Kramarich did a very good job with his defense and rebounds," Moses explained. "He did a real good job. We wanted defense. We preach defense and that's what we want him to do. He came through for us tonight."
Another senior, Alec Jones, led the Wildcat scoring with 18 points.
Dillon Gault was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Red Knights. He scored 15 points and just missed a double-double when he pulled down nine rebounds.
"Dillon kept his composure tonight," said Leary. "We've been talking to him about not getting down on himself when things don't go well and he did a good job of that tonight. He goes hard to the basket and works the boards well for us."
Neither team could brag much about its shooting.
The Wildcats did best making 13 of 49 shots for 26.5 percent from the field while the Red Knights, who had just four players in the scoring column, sank 12 of 57 for 21 percent.
Toronto made nine of 15 foul shots to 7 of 12 for the Wildcats.
The Red Knights travel to Bellaire St. John Friday in a game that was listed on the schedule as being at home. Edison continues on the road Friday with a trip to Martins Ferry.
Toronto 36, Edison 35
Edison 10 10 6 9 - 35
Toronto 9 10 7 10 - 36
EDISON: D. Jones 2 2-2 6, Lee 2 0-0 4, Kramarich 1 0-1 2, A. Jones 6 4-6 18, Howell 2 0-0 4, Woodward 0 1-2 1. Totals: 13 7-11 35. Three-pointers: A. Jones (2); Rebounds: 34 (Kramarich, 13); Turnovers: 18.
TORONTO: Glenn 2 2-5 6, Owens 1 2-3 5, Melville 4 2-3 10, Gault 5 3-4 15. Totals: 12 9-15 36. Three-pointers: Gault (2), Owens; Rebounds: 24 (Gault, 9); Turnovers: 7.