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Prep Basketball: Beating Edison no walk in the park

STOCKTON -- After Monday's practice, Allen Huddleston headed to the park near his house.

The Merced junior didn't have a sudden urge to go down a slide or fly through the air on the swings.

Huddleston wanted to simulate what it would be like shooting jumpers at the University of the Pacific.

"It's different," Huddleston said. "The way the goals are situated, there is a lot of space behind the backboards.

"It's like shooting at a park. So I went to shoot at a park to kind of get used to it."

No. 1 Merced (20-8) hopes to adjust quickly to the Spanos Center today when it faces No. 8 Stockton Edison (20-8) in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

Tip off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

"There's a lot of open space," Merced coach Marcus Knott said. "It takes a little getting used to.

"You don't want to go out there and start launching long jumpers. You want to get acclimated to it first."

Knott expects an up-tempo game against an athletic Edison team that reached the section finals last year.

"They're quick and aggressive," Knott said. "They're the type of team -- if we're not careful -- where we can get caught up in a sloppy game where both teams are just running up and down the floor.

"We can play that way, but we don't like it. We have to rebound, take care of the ball and make good decisions."

Edison is led by senior guard Trumaine Johnson, who scored 18 points in Friday's win over Sacramento Kennedy.

"We know they have a good swing man (Johnson), who's their best player," Huddleston said. "We'll stick Bernard (Bolden) on him and hopefully he can shut him down."

Merced should be a full strength.

Both guard Bobby Salinas and forward Matt Akers -- who both missed Merced's first-round game against Modesto -- practiced on Monday.

"That's huge for our depth," Knott said. "I'm sure people could tell our guys got a little tired last game.

"Our last couple games, our rotation has been a little shorter."

A victory would mean Huddleston was shooting in a park on Monday and firing jumpers in Arco Arena in the semifinals on Thursday.

"That's a real big goal," Huddleston said. "But we don't just want to make it to the third game.

"We want to win a section title. That's been a goal of mine since I've been in high school."

Sac-Joaquin Section

Division I Boys Playoffs, Quarterfinals

No. 1 Merced (20-8) vs.

No. 8 Stockton Edison (20-8)

WHEN: Today, 4 p.m.

WHERE: The Spanos Center at Stockton's University of the Pacific.

A WIN WOULD MEAN... a trip to the semifinals set for Thursday at Arco Arena.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Merced defeated No. 16 Modesto, 76-61; Edison defeated No. 9 Sacramento Kennedy, 64-60.

ALSO TONIGHT: Other quarterfinal matchups are Folsom-Downey, Jesuit-Rodriguez and Sheldon-Elk Grove Franklin.