HILLSIDE – For much of Tuesday’s Proviso West Holiday Tournament consolation championship game, the St. Charles East boys basketball team's shooting percentage was barely higher than the temperature outside.
Cold shooting by the Saints was responsible for their demise in a 67-57 loss to Westinghouse. East (8-6) shot just 26 percent from the field in the first half while falling behind, 27-20.
The Saints shot better – 44 percent – in the second half, but were just 3 for 14 (21 percent) from three-point range and were not able to draw closer than five points against the Warriors (9-4).
"Thirty-six [percent] from two and 22 from three – you’re not going to win many games like that,” East coach Pat Woods said. “It’s amazing we still had a chance, probably because of their poor free throw shooting.”
Westinghouse made just seven of 20 free throws (35 percent).
"We normally shoot about 65-66 percent,” Westinghouse coach Bill Curry said. “The last three days – about 48 to 50. It’s been a real struggle for us at the line. I don’t know how many we missed today, but it had to be at least eight or nine in the fourth quarter.”
The Warriors actually missed 11 free throws in the fourth quarter, which allowed East to hang around.
The Saints, however, weren’t able to capitalize on the openings left by Westinghouse, misfiring on a 3-point try that would have cut the deficit to two with just under four minutes to play and failing to convert on a layup that would have pulled them to within five with 1:45 remaining.
“It’s tough playing in a tournament like this where you have games on consecutive days,” East senior guard Dom Adduci said. “I don’t know what it was today. We were getting open looks that we wanted. … It just seemed like the basket had a lid on it today.”
Adduci was the Saints' leading scorer with 17 points His 3-pointer 55 seconds into the game gave East its only lead at 3-0. Darrell Ivy (15 points) tied the game 25 seconds later and a tip-in by Marlik Williams a minute later put the Warriors on top to stay.
Williams, a powerfully-built 6-foot-3 senior, was a force in the paint all day for Westinghouse, scoring 27 points and securing 12 rebounds.
After falling behind by eight on another trey by Ivy at the start of the second quarter, the Saints battled back to tie the game at 20 with the help of some strong play from 6-5 junior forward Mick Vyzral (nine points, three rebounds, one block). But in what proved to be a key stretch, Westinghouse scored the final seven points of the half, forcing East to abandon its zone defense in the process.
“I think the patience that our guys showed in the last two minutes of the first half set the tone for the second half,” Curry said. “It forced them to come out into a man-to-man, which we’re a little more comfortable with, with the court spread."
The Saints fell behind by 10 midway through the third quarter, prompting Woods to call a timeout. Adduci hit A.J. Washington with an alley-oop pass for a dunk out of the timeout and East began to attack the basket more aggressively after that.
“Coach Woods wanted us to get to the basket, attack it, get some easy layups,” Adduci said. “We knew, as a team, that our shots weren’t falling like we wanted them to be, so we wanted to get some easy layups and that also opened up our shooters on the outside.”
A baseline drive by Adduci late in the third reduced the Westinghouse lead to five, but the Saints could get no closer.
Cole Gentry played all 32 minutes for the Saints, scoring 11 points and reeling in six rebounds.
Woods thought Washington (seven points, 15 rebounds) was perhaps the player of the game for East. Washington started out the tournament slowly, but averaged 12 points and 15 rebounds over the final three games.