Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eden Proves Last Year No Fluke

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eden Proves Last Year No Fluke

Article excerpt

Early in the season, longtime Eden Christian Academy coach Todd Aiken wanted to get a read on how his young team would fare in a tournament situation.

Considering that his team was returning just two players with varsity experience from last season's WPIAL Class A playoff team -- the first in the school's history -- an early December trip to Natrona Heights for the St. Joseph Tip-Off Tournament would either answer his questions or spark some new ones.

"We won the first game of the tournament against Trinity Christian [50-40]," Aiken recalled. "We faced Freeport in the finals. Freeport is a Triple-A team that plays in a tough section (1- AAA). We knew going in it was going to be a tough game. Our youth benefited from that game."

Eden defeated Freeport, 52-47, and that told Aiken a lot.

"They saw they could compete at a very high level," he said. "That was a huge win for us."

As the season progressed, the young Warriors passed additional tests with two victories in the Brentwood Holiday Tournament and an unbeaten non-section record that had fueled the team to a 17-5 overall record following Monday night's victory in the regular- season finale at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and a solid fourth- place finish in Class A, Section 1 with a 7-5 record and a berth in the WPIAL playoffs that begin Friday night.

Aiken, an administrator at the Ohio Township-based school, said his team has one of the smallest student enrollments in the WPIAL competing in basketball. The K-12 school has about 650 students with 190 of them in grades 9-12.

But what they lack in student population, the Warriors make up for with a relentless defensive effort that has yielded just 49.5 points a game while scoring 62.4 points per game.

Aiken takes his defensive cues from a pretty good source, the University of Virginia men's basketball team that had won 21 of its first 22 games this season through this past weekend. …

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