January 16th, 2013
Fairdale Defeats St. Xavier 55-52 in LIT
Tigers lose a heartbreaker to Fairdale
Earlier this season, St. Xavier trounced Fairdale by 14 points, but the Tigers faced a different Bulldogs team Tuesday night.
Fairdale (11-4) got revenge and stayed unbeaten this year with its fifth straight victory by beating the Tigers 55-52 in the second round of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational at Valley High School.
“We have to learn from this,” St. X head coach Kevin Klein said. “I told my seniors that time is running out. There’s only four weeks left in the regular season to get where we want to be.”
St. X (12-6) jumped to a 27-14 lead midway through the second quarter. Brock Kiesler was a large part of the Tigers’ early success with eight first-half points.
“He was very active in the first half,” Klein said of the 6-foot-9 senior. “In the second, he didn’t make some of the moves he made in the first half. We’re going to need Brock to play big to get where we want to be at the end of the season.”
The Tigers relentlessly pressured the Bulldogs into eight turnovers before the intermission, resulting in a number of fast- break points.
But the Tigers lost control as Fairdale went on a 17-0 run that started in the middle of the second quarter and ended at the 5:38 mark of the third.
“Most of the first half, we played winning basketball,” Klein said. “Then it seemed like we got tired of making good plays. We started taking too many questionable shots. If we would have taken high-percentage shots, that’d be a double-digit lead and Fairdale would have had to make several big decisions in the second half.”
Josh Payne (game-high 15 points, six rebounds), Cory Thomas (14, six) and Boo Crabtree (12, nine) played vital roles in the Bulldogs’ run.
“Give Fairdale a lot of credit for closing that half,” Klein said. “They were the better team in the second half.”
St. X went ahead 41-34 early in the fourth quarter with an 11-0 burst, but the Bulldogs retook the lead for good with a 15-2 run.
The Tigers stayed within striking distance as Fairdale hit only 4 of 8 free throws over the last two minutes. The Bulldogs had made 7 of 8 before that.
Robert Shaw tried to tie the game as time expired, but his NBA-range three-pointer fell well short.
“We designed a full-court play to get off a three-point shot, and the defense took away our entry pass,” Klein said. “We tried to make a shot at the buzzer, but obviously it came up short.”
Shaw and Kiesler finished with a team-high 13 points, and Kiesler grabbed 10 rebounds. Alex Jones scored 10.
The Tigers return to the court at 7:30 p.m. Monday to squad off with Waggener at home.