The game didn't get within three possessions in the fourth quarter Friday night, but there were plenty of tense moments.
St. Edward led by as many as 21 before seeing Westminster Christian get within nine multiple times in the fourth quarter. The Warriors just couldn't get any closer until the final minute as the Green Wave beat Westminster, 62-55, to win Pool A and advance to the championship game of the 7th annual Westminster Christian Thanksgiving Classic.
"We just didn't have enough intensity in the fourth quarter," said St. Edward's Nick Duffy, who finished with a team-high 16 points. "We've got to keep it up the entire game, like it was the first quarter."
The Green Wave, which will face IC Catholic at 7 p.m. today in the title game, scored 10 of the game's first 12 points. Duffy scored twice in the final minute of the first quarter as St. Edward (3-0) took an 18-8 lead into the second quarter.
Joe French's 4-point play with 1:59 remaining in the first half gave the Green Wave a 21-point lead, 32-11. St. Edward led 34-15 at halftime.
Westminster (2-1) got the deficit down to 12, 43-31, after the third quarter as Sam Carani hit 2 3-pointers in the final minute.
"I thought we really competed in the second half," said Westminster assistant coach Rich Engle, who was leading the team in coach Bruce Firchau's absence. "That's the big thing we talked about at halftime. I don't think we came out and competed in the first half. You really can't do that against a St. Edward team."
Robert Kleczynski's 3-point play with 5:43 remaining got the Warriors within 9, 50-41, for the first time since the first quarter. Westminster couldn't get any closer until a Brad Barker offensive rebound and putback made it 61-53 with 55 seconds remaining.
"We had just enough defense and enough offense to hold them off," St. Edward coach P.J. White said.
Danny Favela came off the bench to score 14 points and grab 6 rebounds for St. Edward. French finished with 13 points. Davontae Elam added 9.
Kleczynski led the Warriors with 17 points. Carani and Connor Rejman each added 14.
Firchau missed the game, and likely today's third-place game as well, spending time with his family after the passing of his mother. Engle said he thinks Friday was the first game Firchau missed in 40 years.