PROVIDENCE — Westerly High trailed by four points heading into the fourth quarter Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they would have zero field goals in the final period.

The result was 76-53 loss to fifth-seeded Classical in the preliminary round of the Division I boys basketball tournament.

No. 12 Westerly ended its season 7-15.

The Bulldogs played their second straight game without leading-scorer Jesse Samo, who's been battling an illness. Nevertheless, they were only down 53-49 and had the ball to start the fourth quarter. But they would manage only four free throws the rest of the way.

"I think we got tired," Westerly assistant coach Brent Fusaro said. "They just kept going up and down the floor, and they can put up points really fast."

Fusaro was speaking for head coach Mike Gleason, who is suffering a bout of laryngitis.

The game started out as "a shootout," Fusaro said.

The Bulldogs made six of their nine 3-pointers in the first quarter, including three by junior Andrew Peatee. But Classical (6-16) did them one better, making seven first-quarter 3s to take a 27-20 lead.

The Purple maintained their seven-point advantage at the half, 40-33. The Bulldogs rallied in the third quarter before coming undone in the fourth.

"The kids worked hard this week," Fusaro said. "They were competitive. They just ran out of steam in the fourth quarter."

Romello Hamelin led the Bulldogs with 19 points (two 3-pointers), five rebounds and four assists. Peatee finished with 15 points on five 3-pointers, and Lance Williams scored 10.

Azariah Harrison, "one of the best scorers in Division I," according to Fusaro, had a game-high 28 points, including four 3-pointers, for Classical.

Classical will next face No. 4 Central in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Providence Career & Technical Academy.

— Ken Sorensen

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