St Edward holds off Ridgewood rally
St. Edward withstood a Ridgewood second-half rally to win a Metro Suburban Red Division game 54-42 Thursday night in Elgin.
With the victory, the Green Wave (15-10, 6-1) moved into a first-place tie with Ridgewood.
"Now it is a matter of taking care of business," said St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski. "We are getting better at the right time."
St. Edward started the second half with a 32-22 lead.
The Rebels scored 11 points in the third quarter while limiting St. Edward to just two baskets in the period. An Alexander Lipski layup just before the third period buzzer pulled Ridgewood within three, 36-33.
Zielinski said his team contributed to the Rebels' third-quarter comeback by not being smart with the ball. St. Edward turned the ball over five times in the period.
"I thought we were making bad decisions with ball (in the third quarter). We tried to tell them to keep it simple," he said. "Guys weren't coming to the ball, and they were jumping in a little bit."
Ben Zielinski opened the last quarter with a bucket to widen his team's lead back to five. Ridgewood twice pulled within three points, and both times Zielinski (11 points) responded -- the second time with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 5:25 left to play that gave the Green Wave a 43-37 lead.
After his son's trey, coach Zielinski called a time out.
"Everyone was chirping at each other. I just said, "Score the next basket, and that makes Ridgewood work harder." he said.
His squad responded by scoring 6 straight points, the last two on Michael O'Brien free throws. The senior finished the night with 12 points. Ridgewood narrowed the lead to 51-42 on a Nikola Jocic bucket with a minute left to play but was unable to get any closer.
After losing to Ridgewood 68-57 two weeks ago, Zielinski decide to change his defense for Thursday's rematch.
"We threw a 1-3-1 at them, and that changed everything. I don't know if they were expecting it or not," Zielinski said. "I thought that was the difference."
Green Wave sophomore Matt Morrice led all scorers with 17 points. Junior Kaden Dawson pulled down 10 rebounds.
Lucas Melendez led Ridgewood (14-8, 6-1) with 13 points.