Westmont boys take 'step in the right direction' with 2-2 tournament finish

WESTMONT – The end result for Westmont’s boys basketball team over the holidays was a 2-2 record at the tournament it co-hosted with IC Catholic.

But the results were a little deceiving.

“We played pretty well in the tournament,” head coach Craig Etheridge said. “It was a step in the right direction for us. We were only 2-2, but I’m pleased with the way we played.”

The Sentinels started the tourney with a 57-46 defeat to a St. Edward team that went on to win the title. They followed the initial loss with wins over Morgan Park Academy and Chicago Perspectives MSA before a narrow, 67-63 setback to IC in the third place game on Dec. 30. Early foul trouble hurt them against the Knights,
but the Sentinels battled back and had a chance to win the game late.

“We hung with them, but down the stretch they hit their free throws,” Etheridge said. “They were 24-for-28 for the game and something like 10-for-12 in the fourth quarter. We ended up losing by four points, but we fouled with three seconds left. It was basically a two-point game late.”

Etheridge said Montraveous Little stepped up and scored well during the tournament and that Danny LoGiurato did well scoring and running the offense at the point guard position. But the coach said senior forward Greg Pietrzak stood out throughout the tournament.

“He played well all four games,” Etheridge said. “He averaged 15 or 16 points and eight rebounds for the tournament, which was better than what he was averaging for the season coming in, and he did it against some pretty good players.”

Now 4-10 overall for the season, Westmont will look to improve on its 1-3 mark in the Interstate Eight Conference when it hosts Peotone on Friday in the first game of the new year. Etheridge has not scouted Peotone in person this season, but has a good idea of what to expect on Friday.

“I have five games of stats from this year and notes from last year,” the coach said. “It’s not the same as seeing them live, but they’re always well-coached and pretty disciplined.

“We always have good games against them and we are fortunate that we have won more than we lost. Most years it’s a very close game, and I’m anticipating something similar this week.”