Hoping to earn some hardware, St. Charles East's basketball team had to settle for some hardened dispositions Tuesday afternoon in Hillside.
Struggling with their shooting throughout the game, the Saints (8-6) suffered a 67-57 loss to Westinghouse (9-4) in the consolation championship of the 53rd annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament.
St. Charles East, which carried a 3-game winning streak into the contest after its first-round tourney loss to Uplift, connected on 22 of its 61 field-goal attempts -- including a paltry 6-for-27 (22 percent) from 3-point range -- about 24 hours after blistering the nets for 88 points in a consolation semifinal victory over Libertyville.
"Thirty-six percent from 2 (point range) and 22 percent from 3 -- you're not going to win many games like that," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "It was amazing that we still had a chance to win, probably because of their poor free throw shooting (7-for-20)."
Westinghouse jumped out to a 14-9 lead after 1 quarter and extended it to 20-13 midway through the second quarter on Darrell Ivy's fourth 3-pointer of the game.
"I don't think we had the right mindset coming in here," said Woods. "It's a championship game. Whatever place it's for, it's a championship game."
Mick Vyzral scored 4 points and James McQuillan added a 3-pointer as part of the Saints' 7-0 run that tied the game at 20-20 with 2:52 left in the second quarter.
However, the Warriors closed out the half with 7 straight points of their own, ignited by a long-range 3-pointer from De'Quaniis Jackson, to grab a 27-20 lead at the intermission.
"In the first half, we played that zone (defense) and they hit a lot of 3s early (5)," said Woods. "But then you look at the stats from the game and they had 42 points in the paint so maybe we were better off playing that zone."
In the second half, the Saints went to a man-to-man defense and Westinghouse upped the lead to 35-25 midway through the third quarter.
Led by senior guard Dom Adduci (17 points) and junior guard Cole Gentry (11), the Saints trimmed their deficit to 5 at 41-36 in the final minute of the third period only to let reserve guard Adrian Gutierrez free for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 44-36 lead.
"I just didn't like the tempo or the pace," Woods said of the first 24 minutes. "We're a fast-paced team. We don't play as hard when we're sitting in that zone rather man and trying to run and jump and stuff."
Trailing 51-40, the Saints tried to make things a little more interesting with a couple late charges.
Two free throws from Adduci cut the Warriors' lead to 53-48 with 3:44 remaining but the Saints wasted a golden opportunity when they misfired from 3-point range on their next possession.
A couple minutes later, Gentry drained a 3-pointer to make it 60-53 but the Saints squandered another scoring chance with a missed layup down the stretch.
"We say that big players make big plays in big situations," said Woods. "I didn't think we had anyone who did that today. I thought our best player was AJ (Washington) with 15 rebounds (and 7 points). He has been a beast for us consistently and he defends well, too."
Vyzral and McQuillan added 9 and 8 points, respectively, for the Saints, who finished the tourney with a 3-2 mark.
"We were getting open looks and our shots were right there but the basket had a lid on it today," said Adduci. "Moving forward, this will be another game that we can build off of."
"Big picture -- we're going to be fine," said Woods, who hopes to get 6-6 senior forward Dave Mason back in January. "But it was a disappointing loss today."
Marlik Williams led Westinghouse with 27 points and 12 rebounds.