Top 100: Pete DeHaven, Edison, Basketball, 1970

Top 100: Pete DeHaven, Edison, Basketball, 1970

The co-captain of Edison's 1969-70 team was integral to the Eagles' "Big Push" into the state tournament.

PRIOR TO THE state tournament, Edison had to jump two mighty high hurdles. First they had to get past West Springfield High School in the Gunston District Tournament. The Spartans had taken the regular season championship, and were favored to win the tournament. They split the pair of regular games with Edison, but the Eagles fell to Mount Vernon in a regular season upset to slip to second place in the Gunston. In the tournament final, the Eagles managed to force a playoff game against the Spartans. They came from being behind 33-22 to beat West Springfield 43-42. The following night the Eagles would defend their district title in style. They won the game 47-43, and DeHaven was named the MVP of the tournament. Edison coach Carl Hensley was quoted: "[Tonight's win] is the greatest triumph in Edison High School history." But the season's story was not over yet.

As the Gunston District champions, Edison earned the right to play in the four-team Regional tournament. However, in the first game, they were pitted against the top-ranked Woodson team, coached by Jenkins.

"Pete DeHaven broke loose in the final period last night to lead the Eagles past Woodson." - The Alexandria Gazette, Mar. 5, 1970

Edison won the game 52-46, and DeHaven scored 25 points, 18 of which came in the final quarter. The next closest point-scorer in the game was a Woodson player who had 11 points. The game was played in front of a capacity crowd of 5,000 at Hayfield. Once again, DeHaven was selected as the tournament's MVP.

Two days later the Eagles earned themselves a berth to the state tournament, winning the regional championship by a score of 76-54. DeHaven scored 20 points.

THE HEADLINES and the articles during Edison's Big Push give more credit to DeHaven. They mention his 30-plus point games, and the big plays he produced to break deadlocked games. Jenkins said that Hensley ran a conservative basketball team. He said Edison did not run the ball down the floor fast, and it also played a tight defensive zone. However, he said, Hensley cut DeHaven loose. "[Hensley] put a group of average players around [DeHaven], and they went far year after year," said Jenkins.

In 1992, the Connection came out with its basketball Dream Team, and listed DeHaven as the first team forward on that team. He was joined by Grant Hill of South Lakes at the other forward position, Dave Koesters of West Springfield and Tommy Amaker of Woodson at the guard positions, and Joey Beard of South Lakes at the center position. When he first started playing for Edison in 1967, DeHaven was 6-2, 145 pounds. By 1969 he had grown three inches and put on 35 pounds.

His old coach, Hensley, said:

"He was just a conscientious hard worker who improved each year. He could do a lot of different things with the ball," - The Connection, Dec. 1992

According to Jenkins, DeHaven went on to American University and had an outstanding college career with the Eagles.

It was a season to remember. The Edison Eagles basketball team called upon the student body to support them in the Big Push, and the team pushed its way to the 1970 basketball state semi-final.

The captain of that Eagles team, and the main reason for the Big Push, was Pete DeHaven. The 1970 Edison graduate averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game that season.

"He was a terrific jumper," recalled Red Jenkins, the long-time coach at Woodson. "He was only about 6-5, but he grabbed a whole lot of rebounds." He said DeHaven was a complete basketball player, but it was his demeanor that made him stand out. "I don't think his facial expression ever changed. He was always very poised and very calm," said Jenkins.

The Eagles basketball team lost that year in the state semis to Maury on Mar. 13, 1970. The score was 70-62 in overtime.

Pete DeHaven is 37 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.