January 9th, 2018

Tigers fall in triple OT in LIT

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Tigers fall in triple OT in LIT
St. X's James Taylor (gold jersey) looks to make a play / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier’s basketball team played in a three overtime thriller with Butler that many will remember for a long time.

In the end, Butler came out on top, dismantling the Tigers 84-81 in a first round Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament game Tuesday night at Valley High.

“What a great high school basketball game that was,” St. X head coach Kevin Klein said. “It a shame that somebody had to lose that game and it was us. I really want to challenge our guys to learn from this game and take away the positives and us it to our advantage moving forward.”

The Bears (15-1) had control throughout most of regulation grabbing a 17-8 lead in the first quarter and never led by less than five points in the second and third quarters.

“I thought our guys finally started playing harder as the game wore,” Klein said. “We got stops and started making baskets. In the second we came out with better urgency and effort. We were finally able to catch up at one point. In the final overtime, we didn’t get the stop when we needed and Butler got it when it needed it most.”

St. X (9-7) still trailed 55-45 until Michael Burns fouled out and a technical foul was called on the Butler bench. James Taylor and Pierce Kiesler hit both of their free throws for St. X to make it 55-49 with 3:30 remaining.

“To be honest, I don’t think it was Michael Burns that made me have a difficult first half,” St. X star Pierce Kiesler said. “I think it was me. It was my fault. I didn’t come out prepared in the first half and wasn’t taking good shots.”

The Tigers were down 60-55 when Butler’s Devin Pendergrass fouled out and then was called for a technical. Taylor hit 1 of 2 from the line and Kiesler hit both to make it 60-58 with 20.6 seconds left.

As with any technical, St. X got the ball back, and Kielser hit a layup to tie the game at 60 with 12.2 seconds to go to force overtime.

The Tigers were again in trouble in the first overtime, but Taylor saved the day by driving to the basket, and hitting a layup at the horn to force a second OT.

“Coach drew up a play that gave me a screen to the lane,” Taylor said. “He trusted me to have the ball and take the last second shot.”

It was tied at 73 at the end of the second overtime and Taylor again went for the heroics but couldn’t get a good shot off.

Butler finally ended the game in the third overtime. Kiesler gave the Tigers an 79-78 lead with 1:08 left and had the chance to complete an old fashioned three-point play but missed his free throw.

St. X then committed a foul and Frank Bentley made 1 of 2 from from the line to tie the game at 79 with 1:06 remaining.

The Bears Trey Minter then capitalizes on a Tiger turnover and hits a jumper to make it 81-79 with 47.6 seconds to play.

Butler never trailed again and iced the victory by making 3 of 4 free throws during the final 30 seconds.

“I think we have to take it more serious in practice,” Taylor said. “As of right now we aren’t giving it our all in practice and it’s showing up in the games. We need to be able to practice for two hours so we can play for 32 minutes.”  

Five Bears scored in double figures. Jaquay Whales led his team with 22 points and made a whopping 14 of 17 from the line.

Minter (16), Maurice Tolley (14), Jadon Lamb (10), and Burns (10) also finished in double figures for Butler.

“Burns is very athletic and very long,” Klein said. “He made it very tough for us to guard him. He took used good ball fakes and got a few and ones. He’s always going to be the type of player that’s going to cause some problems for us.”

Kielser scored a game high 27 points to guide the Tigers and hit 8 of 15 from the field despite not making any of his five three-point attempts.

“In the second half we started to have a spark,” Kiesler said. “We started to play with a sense of urgency. We have to play like we did in the second half the whole game rather than just the start.”

Taylor had 21 points and was 7 of 15 from the field. Cameron McDonogh and Sam Boarman both chipped in 12 points.

St. X made 27 of 63 (42.9 percent) from the field including only 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) from three-point land and 24 of 35 (68.6 percent) from the foul line.

Butler made 24 of 49 (49 percent) from the field including 8 of 15 (53.3 percent) from three-point land and 28 of 35 (80 percent) from the foul line.

The Bears will play Ballard in an LIT quarterfinal game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

St. X doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, hosting DeSales at 7:30 p.m.

“We need our guys to be ready on and off the court and be ready when a game starts,” Klein said. “We need our guys to meet the expectations we have. We need our guys to play hard for the two hours in practice and the 32 minutes in a game. Right now we’re playing good in spurts and we aren’t playing good in spurts and that’s every second in practice matters and every detail matters.”


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