LOWELL — Two days before Saturday’s Division 2 North Sectional final against North Andover, Daivon Edwards and Nate Hogan thought they’d be filling in bubbles on a scantron sheet with a No. 2 pencil instead of helping the Brighton boys’ basketball team win a trip to the TD Garden for the second straight season.
“Me and my friend Nate, we were contemplating if we wanted to play or take the SATs,” Edwards said after scoring 17 points in the 64-59 victory at the Tsongas Center. “Schools that were looking at us, we didn’t know if they’d accept us if our SATs [scores came in] too late.
“I’m a senior. I’m not coming back next year, this is my last year, I want to win it all.”
After Brighton officials unsuccessfully lobbied the MIAA to change the game time,
Brighton’s academic coach Caroline Correa called the SAT board to allow the players to take the exam on May 4. She also called their prospective colleges to make sure it is OK that they turn their SAT scores in late.
“She’s wonderful, she helps me out with all my college applications, she helps me out,” Edwards said. “She is a big part of my future right now, honestly, a really big part.”
The game was originally scheduled for 3:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoon but was moved to 12:15 p.m. because it would have conflicted with North Andover’s junior prom in New Hampshire.
Hogan said they used the fact that the MIAA wouldn’t move the game as motivation.
“Definitely, because college compared to prom, it’s no comparison,” he said. “We should be able to take the SATs so that just got me more motivated to go harder on the court.”
Hogan played tough defense in Saturday’s victory while Edwards nailed four 3-pointers, including one to give Brighton a 55-51 lead with 3:20 to play.
“I was just feeling it,” Edwards said, “and I remember coach saying ‘Be aggressive’ and once I let it go I thought it was going in.”
Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said he was pleased with Edwards’ performance because the guard had struggled for much of the postseason.
“I said, ‘I know what you’re capable of, you’ve proven you can do it, stick with it,’ ” Coleman said. “His confidence rose and now the last few games that stroke has been going and it meant a lot for his confidence and it means a lot for our team.”
Edwards said the SAT conflict did distract him going into the game but he had to push it out of his mind.
“I didn’t let it get to me,” he said. “I was just thinking about winning the championship. Coach told us this is the biggest game. He texted me last night and said ‘I have to rebound, I have to come out and play more aggressively’ because during the state tournament I haven’t been playing aggressive.
“I’ve just been shooting. I haven’t been attacking the rim.”
During the run up to the game, State Rep. Kevin Hogan even offered a police escort to rush the players to the game after the SATs but Hogan said there was no way he would have been able to focus on the test.
“I wouldn’t be able to do good on the test because I would just be thinking about the basketball game and that’s basically it,” he said.
Hogan, who flunked off the team before the postseason last year and now carries a 3.0 GPA, said he's looking to playing in the Eastern Mass. championship on Tuesday at the TD Garden for the first time.
He said he’ll also be ready for the SATs on May 4th.
“When I heard I couldn’t play because of the SATs it broke my heart,” Hogan said. “I was ready to miss the SATs, I really did not care because I really wanted to play in this game.
This is basically my second family so I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
“I’m going to be real confident [on May 4th] now because I can actually prepare for it; I couldn’t prepare for it if I took it today.”
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