Adrian Pierzchanowski showed he could deliver in the clutch for St. Patrick on Sunday.
Wide open off a nicely executed skip pass, Pierzchanowski drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with just over two minutes remaining that broke a tie game and propelled the Shamrocks to the 66-62 victory over St. Charles North in the Ridgewood Shootout in Norridge.
“They were making a run on us, and it seemed like the tide was turning against us,” Pierzchanowski said. “That three turned everything around for us.”
The three-pointer put the St. Patrick (5-1) up 57-54. Until then, St. Charles North appeared to have the upper hand behind the electrifying play of junior guard Jake Ludwig, who scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter.
His four-point play sparked a 10-2 North Stars’ run that wiped out a seven-point St. Patrick advantage to start the fourth quarter.
“We just stuck together,” Pierzchanowski said. “We didn’t crumble apart after their run.”
Junior guard Nicolas Coleman scored nine of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter for St. Patrick. His tough one-handed runner in the lane followed Pierzchanowski’s three-pointer as St. Patrick built a five-point lead.
He also made a crucial layup with the Shamrocks down two points midway through the fourth quarter.
“That floater, I’ve watched a ton of basketball games in my life and when they went on that run against us, I just thought, this is when teams fall apart,” Coleman said. “I just said to myself, this is my time to take over.”
The North Stars (5-2) were playing their third game in four days and coming off an emotional Saturday victory over rival St. Charles East. Junior forward Jack Callaghan scored 13 of his 22 points in a first half that ended in a 25-25 tie.
St. Patrick forced six St. Charles North turnovers in the third quarter in seizing the 43-36 lead.
“We made some poor decisions early in the offense,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “What we’ve done well all year is work hard for a high percentage shot, but we broke away from our system and rushed some things.”
Averaging 20 points per game, Ludwig caught fire in the fourth quarter. “I think I got more aggressive in that fourth quarter because we were trailing and we needed to do something,” Ludwig said. “We were not really there today mentally. We were physically, but not mentally.”
Coleman made four straight free throws and junior forward Isaac Moore hit two in a row as St. Patrick converted 6-of-6 in the final 31 seconds to secure the victory.
Moore contributed 12 points for the Shamrocks.
“You have to give St. Patrick credit,” Poulin said. “They attacked our zone better than any team we’ve played this year. We were slow on our rotations. On that big three-pointer, we were there on the catch and we left somebody wide open.”