December 5th, 2017

Borders hits six threes, St. X cruises past Central

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Borders hits six threes, St. X cruises past Central
Kyle Bansbach prepares to shoot a free throw / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier’s basketball team showed that it’s a dangerous three-point shooting team in their 79-53 win over visiting Central at the Brother John Wills Activities Center Tuesday night.

The Tigers (3-0) hit 13 of 24 from three-point land and was led by sophomore Clay Borders who drained 6 of 8 from outside and finished with 18 points.

“Clay had a great finish to practice yesterday,” St. X head coach Kevin Klein said. “And he picked up right where he left off. He has a special ability to stretch the floor and he had that look in his eye and a lot of confidence tonight. As a coach, that’s refreshing to see. That’s what you work for in the practices so it shows up in a game. He was in a real good spot tonight.”

It was only Borders third varsity game.

“I’m a catch and shoot shooter,” Borders said. “I look for my teammates to set me up. They set me up well tonight and gave me every shot. I was able to knock it down.”

Pierce Kiesler scored a game high 28 points, had six rebounds, and hit 12 of 12 from the field including two triples.

“He’s a good shooter and we know what he’s capable of,” Kiesler said of Borders. “You leave him open with that shot and 10 times out of 10 I’ll bet that he makes that shot. He is a great shooter.”

Cam McDonogh added 12 points and hit two three pointers and James Taylor had an all-around performance recording 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals.

“I think we have a really good team,” McDonogh said. “Junior obviously kicks out and penetrates well. We stress on our shooting. Having Clay come off the bench was big. He can really light it up.”

St. X finished the game hitting 32 of 49 (65.3 percent) from the field.

“I just think we have a lot of really good players that have worked really hard to improve their games from where they were last year,” Klein said. “When you get to reap those benefits on a Tuesday and Friday night against guys that have been working hard to play, that’s very rewarding.

“We have guys that have some special talents and abilities but we still have a long way to go but with our team chemistry in a good spot, guys are playing for one another, and we’re getting high percentage shots. We have a chance to be a very good team.”

Chris Rawlings led Central (0-3) with 17 points while M.J. Romaine added 16 points. The Yellowjackets made 21 of 48 (43.8 percent) from the floor including 6 of 23 (26.2 percent) from three-point land

The Tigers only led 20-17 after one quarter of play and that was because McDonogh hit a trey just before the horn.

“It was close at the end of the first quarter,” Kiesler said. “We knew we needed to be quicker and pick up our defense. Once we picked up our defense in the second quarter, the offense came easy because the defense sets our offense up.”

And that’s what happened, St. X raised their game to another level, and outscored Central 23-2 in the second quarter to build a 43-19 halftime lead.

“We were really disappointed in our first quarter defensive intensity and effort because we really challenged the guys coming in,” Klein said. “We have had some good defensive efforts here early in the season and our guys got refocused with the scouting reports and our minds were in a better place in the second quarter.

“I think that’s a sign of who we are defensively. We want every game to start with our defense to get our offense going. If we do that, everything else will come. It all starts with the defense and we expect a lot from our guys on that end.”

St. X would lead by as many as 27 in the third quarter before the Yellowjackets cut the lead to 16 in the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers were able to finish it off and rebuild their strong advantage.

The Tigers return to action Friday night with a game at Seventh Region rival Waggener. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 


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