There wasn't much time for P.J. White to celebrate Batavia's first state football championship.
The longtime assistant and offensive line coach had to go from DeKalb to Elgin to lead his St. Edward boys basketball team in Saturday night's championship game of Westminster Christian's 7th Annual Warrior Thanksgiving Basketball Classic against Suburban Christian rival IC Catholic Prep.
White got to the game just before tipoff and then saw St. Edward allow just 2 points in the final 3:44 to defend its title with a 60-57 comeback victory.
"That's awesome," St. Edward junior Nick Duffy, the tourney's Most Outstanding Player, said of giving White two titles in one day.
Duffy and all-tourney pick Davontae Elam collaborated on the defensive play that sealed it for the Wave (4-0), whose only win in four tries last year over IC (3-1) was in the Westminster title game.
After Elam (15 points) hit a tiebreaking free throw with 29.4 seconds left, IC coach T.J. Tyrrell elected not to call a timeout and all-tourney pick Clark Brinkman (14 points) drove the baseline for a reverse layup that went in and out. Sophomore all-tourney pick Rhashaun Epting (17 points) grabbed the rebound, but Elam poked the ball loose, Duffy grabbed it and fed Elam as he raced upcourt and was fouled with 2.5 seconds left.
Elam hit both free throws in a 1-and-1 situation and IC could manage only a desperation half-court heave by Epting at the buzzer.
"It was a pretty open steal," Duffy said. "I thought I could get it to Davontae and he would have a layup or get fouled."
The biggest lead for either team in the second half was 4 points. For IC, that was 55-51 with 3:44 left after an 11-4 burst where senior guard Anthony Taylor (12 points) scored on three drives and Epting had a layup and 3-pointer.
White called timeout six seconds later.
"It was just to slow things down and tell them to remember they were still in this game," White said.
"It was really to calm us down," Duffy said. "Everybody was a little nervous and a little jumpy. He calmed us down and told us what to do, which was play basketball pretty much."
Joseph French (11 points) hit a pullup jumper, John Butzow (9 points) had a steal and layup and Danny Favela (11 points) had a drive through traffic to put the Wave up 57-55 with 1:24 left. Taylor's lane drive tied it at 1:05.
"Toward the end I thought we pulled it out a little too much instead of taking it at their zone," Tyrrell said. "We didn't really get into our pressure as much defensively, which is one of our strengths.
"(Brinkman) had a very good look ... and that's his shot. Since they were in the zone, we thought, 'let's let the kids play' because Taylor had some nice drives to open things up."
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