St. Edward clinches share of Metro Red championship
St. Edward clinched a share of the Metro Suburban Red Conference title Friday night, a feat the Green Wave hadn't accomplished since ... well, nobody could seem to remember how long it had been since the Wave won a boys basketball conference title.
The Wave celebrated their latest title following a 52-43 win against visiting Westmont.
St. Edward can win the title outright with a win at Bishop McNamara on Tuesday. St. Edward (18-9, 9-0) beat Bishop Mac in Elgin earlier in the year.
On Friday, the Wave led most of the way but couldn't seem to shake the pesky Sentinels.
St. Edward led by just 6 points midway through the third quarter when Robert Wilson, one of 7 seniors the Wave honored on Senior Night, made 3-pointers on 3 consecutive possessions to put the home team ahead 37-24.
Westmont got as close as 7 points late in the game but could get no closer.
"I saw that the zone was sagging off a little bit, so after I hit my first one, I knew that after my first one they weren't going to respect it until I hit 2 or 3," Wilson said, "So I just shot it until they respected my jump shot."
Wilson finished with 15 points for St. Edward. Ben Zielinski and Kaden Dawson scored 9 apiece and Ryan Saucedo added 8.
"The first goal we had was winning 20, and the second goal was winning conference," said Wave coach Andy Zielinski. "Bishop Mac is really good, they're like 22-5, and we've got to go out and beat them there. I'm just very proud of the kids. I've been here 4 years, since these kids were freshmen, and they've come a long way in those 4 years."
"We came into this game knowing that's something that hasn't been done in a long time, and that's something that we wanted to do," said Wilson. "We had our eyes set on conference all season and our goal is to win it outright on Tuesday."
Westmont's sophomore duo of Joseph Kone and Abraham Johnson kept the Sentinels in the game, accounting for 19 of the team's 23 second-half points. Kone finished with 18 and Johnson added 9. Nikola Bogdanovic had 9 points and 12 rebounds for the Sentinels.
Westmont made 8 of 12 shots in the middle 2 periods and opened the fourth quarter by hitting their first 3 from the field before having to force up some shots to try to cut the deficit. The Sentinels' problem was that they couldn't get up enough shots while turning the ball over 19 times.
St. Edward made just 3 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter. The misses included the front ends of 2 one-and-ones, which allowed the Sentinels to hang around. But after 2 free throws by Kone cut the deficit to 50-43, Ben Zielinski made 2 from the line for the final margin.