St. Edward drops last-second heartbreaker to Elmwood Park
The potential game-winning shot taken by the St. Edward boys basketball team with two seconds left in a 40-39 loss to visiting Elmwood Park on Friday was a decent look.
The frustrating part for first-year St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski wasn't that David Hill's 3-point attempt didn't fall after the Green Wave inbounded with 10 seconds to play. It was that they could have taken a better shot seconds earlier but no one noticed the open man.
"Film will show we had a wide-open shot in the corner," Zielinski said after the Green Wave slipped to 5-5, 0-2 in the Metro Suburban Red. "We missed that. But we're young."
"Coach put us in the position to win," Hill said. "We ran the play through. It just didn't happen in the end. Our team played great defense, I thought. They just came out on top."
It was a disappointing ending for St. Edward. The Wave led 33-31 after three quarters, thanks to a go-ahead basket by junior guard JP McGuire. They led 35-32 with seven minutes to play after Hill scored 2 of his game-high 18 points from the free-throw line.
The lead changed hands for the seventh and final time when senior guard Kristofer Amon drove the baseline for a reverse layup that put Elmwood Park (5-3, 1-0) ahead 36-35 with 6:18 remaining.
Neither team scored for almost three minutes until 6-foot-3 senior Elton Shemitraku made a basket in the lane to give the Tigers a 3-point lead. He scored 12 points, all in the second half.
St. Edward drew within 40-39 with 50 seconds left when senior Giovanni Gonnella was fouled and sank both free throws.
The Green Wave regained possession with 40 seconds left and passed the ball around the perimeter for almost 30 seconds without taking a shot.
"We wanted to try to get it in the middle and get a shorter shot," Zielinski said. "We were trying to get it inside all night, but we're not very big so I think that's part of it."
St. Edward dropped its second straight game, party due to shooting woes. The Green Wave shot 11 of 30 from 2-point range, 2 of 15 from 3-point distance.
"We haven't shot the ball that well so far," the St. Edward coach added. "I thought we played hard, though. Defensively, we were OK. We just have to score."
Amon led Elmwood Park with 14 points.
Gonnella contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds for St. Edward, which hosts Woodstock on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.