Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:12 PM
Washington-Marion again led wire-to-wire, but had to sweat out some late drama in a 67-44 win over Beaumont (Texas) Monsignor Kelly in the semifinal round of the Whitney/St. Louis Classic.
The Charging Indians (2-0) will face St. Thomas More in the championship game at 7 p.m. today. St. Thomas More advanced with a 73-57 win over O.P. Walker.
W-M started the game with a 16-4 run, led by seven points from Jeremiah Warren and five from Mark Vital. The Charging Indians maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the half, leading 39-18 at the break. The lead grew to 25 by the middle of the third quarter, but Kelly (3-1) scored the final eight points of the third and dominated the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter, pulling within 56-50 with 2 minutes left on a 3-pointer by Andrew Pace.
But, after turning the ball over six times and scoring four points in the first 6 minutes of the final quarter, W-M scored on five of its final six possessions to put the game away.
Vital led W-M with 16 points. Warren added 11. Shad Wise led Kelly with 18 points. Pace scored 15 and Cam Frank added 14 before leaving the game with an arm injury early in the fourth quarter after taking a hard foul.
W-M head coach Albert Hartwell said he likes the way his young team, which includes two seniors, has started the season.
“We are young and big and we are learning,” he said. “That is the biggest thing right now, to learn what we can do. We don’t have but two seniors out there, the rest are freshmen and sophomores. They are learning how to play defense. The aggressiveness is going to come. We have to get them to play harder because everyone in our league is older.”
Hartwell said the youngsters have a good approach.
“I don’t have to worry about nothing, I don’t have to fuss,” he said. “They are easy to coach, they want to win; they ask about their mistakes and they all play together. They don’t have any egos. They work together and they are having fun. They are making mistakes from trying to do too much too soon.
“Our biggest thing is just slowing them down and getting them to a point where they are all gelling at the same time.”
In the second semifinal, STM dominated from the start, outscoring O.P. Walker 22-4 in the first quarter. Trey Touchet scored 23 to lead the Cougars. Ryan Randle added 15.STM beat W-M by one point in last year’s championship game.