Bishop McNamara denies St. Edward share of Metro crown

St. Edward's fourth quarter comeback fell short Tuesday night resulting in a 62-59 loss to Bishop McNamara in the Green Wave's home finale.

Trailing 53-38 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Green Wave rallied and with 56.7 seconds left to play, pulled within 60-59 on two Ben Zielinski free throws. Bishop McNamara returned the margin to three when Robert Hutson connected on two charity tosses.

With 20 seconds left on the clock, St. Edward's Kaden Dawson shot from the 3-point arc on the right wing. It missed the mark and the ball was rebounded by Jaxson Provost of the Fighting Irish.

Provost was immediately fouled. He missed the front end of a one-and-one and the loose ball was corralled by St. Edward's Matt Morrie. After a timeout and the game clock down to 12 seconds, the Green Wave inbounded the ball but turned it over before getting a shot off.

"At the start the fourth quarter I told the team 'You guys either go and run with them or we are going to lose by 20,'" said St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski. "So they shifted into another gear in the last quarter. Being three points down is a compliment to the kids."

"We played so hard and so well on defense in the second half that it affected our pace of play on offense," McNamara coach Adrian Provost said. "And they changed to a 1-3-1 zone. We didn't adjust well and it snowballed."

The Kankakee school not only spoiled the Green Wave's senior night, but also snapped an eight-game winning streak, denied the team its 20th win and knocked St. Edward (19-11, 8-2) out of a first-place tie in the Metro Suburban Red Division.

"It was disappointing. We could have tied for conference, but we still have a chance to win 20 games and win a regional," Zielinski said, "That's how we are looking at it now. Second place isn't too bad."

Bishop McNamara (22-7, 6-4) broke open the game in the third quarter. Leading 36-31 at halftime, the Fighting Irish started the third quarter with a 14-0 run to take a 50-31 lead. St. Edward committed six turnovers in the period and was held scoreless for almost six minutes. Dawson ended the drought with a baseline layup at the 2:02 mark in the quarter.

"We weren't as aggressive in the early part of the game and they ran us out on the fast breaks," the St. Edward coach said.

Dawson and senior Jacob Biewer led the rally. Dawson scored eight of his 12 points in the comeback attempt. Biewer (11 points) made three baskets in the rally.

"We turned the ball over four times at the start of the third quarter. We went from five down to 12 down and it is hard to come back from that," Biewer said. "We were able to make a big comeback but it was a little too late."

Senior Ben Zielinski scored a game-high 18 points including three 3-pointers. Morrice also finished in double figures with 12 points.

Freshman Callaghan O'Connor scored a team-high 16 points for Bishop McNamara. Teammate Jaydon Wright tallied 13 points and Hutson notched 13.

  St. Edward's Matthew Morrice (2) takes a shot during Tuesday's boys basketball game against Bishop McNamara in Elgin. Paul Valade/
  St. Edward's Michael O'Brien (24) pulls in a rebound near Bishop McNamara's Callaghan O' Connor during Tuesday's boys basketball game in Elgin. Paul Valade/
  St. Edward's Kaden Dawson (21) takes a shot past Bishop McNamara's Jaydon Wright during Tuesday's boys basketball game in Elgin. Paul Valade/
  Bishop McNamara's Jayson Provost (3) is pressured by St. Edward's Matthew Morrice (2) and Ben Zielinski during Tuesday's boys basketball game in Elgin. Paul Valade/
  Bishop McNamara's Robert Hutson Jr., left, looks to take a shot under pressure from St. Edward's Jacob Biewer during Tuesday's boys basketball game in Elgin. Paul Valade/
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