December 28th, 2011

Tigers Charge Late, Fall 63-55 To Bardstown

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Tigers Charge Late, Fall 63-55 To Bardstown
photo by Chris Jung

St. X loss comes during Republic Bank Classic quarterfinals

Despite a 16-point second half deficit on Wednesday, the St. Xavier High School basketball team rallied back against Bardstown and took over possession of the ball trailing just 60-55 with under a minute to go.

But a pair of three-point shot attempts hit off the front of the rim, the Tigers were assessed an intentional and a technical foul on the other end on B'town's ensuing possession and St. X eventually fell 63-55 in the Republic Bank Holiday Classic quarterfinals at Lexington Catholic.

The loss was just the fourth of the year and second in five games for St. Xavier, which came into Wednesday's game with a 7-6 all-time record in RBHC winner's bracket play.

"I thought (Bardstown) shot the ball very well and our energy level was not there at the start of the game. I don't think we came out with the passion and the energy we needed to beat a team that was in the state tournament last year and that has already beaten Moore and Central," said St. Xavier head coach Kevin Klein. "It was an opportunity that was missed and we hope that we respond the correct way and come back tomorrow to play a good team in Moore."

St. X 6-foot-7 junior center Brock Kiesler notched a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double in the losing effort. He also had three blocked shots and was integral to the Tigers' 15 second-chance points during the course of the contest.

On the other end, Bardstown's Jordan Brewer, Devonte Grundy and point guard Anthony Myrks used their quickness and consistent shooting to lead the way. Brewer, who scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, had a big 3-pointer and went 8-of-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter alone.

Grundy and Myrks combined for 25 points on 11-of-24 shooting (6-of-13 from beyond the arc). The duo also swiped six steals and dished nine assists.

"They feed very well off one another," said Klein. "Myrks is a strong penetrator with great court vision and Jordan Brewer is one of the best spot up shooter that I'veseen all year. He makes you pay for your mistakes. They're definitely a very talented backcourt. They play hard and they're well coached."

St. X junior Alex Jones slipped in for a backdoor layup at the buzzer to end the first half, but Bardstown still took a 28-18 advantage into the locker room. Out of the midway break, B'town used a 9-3 run to push its lead to 37-21 over St. X with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers managed to rally, however, cut it to 41-31 after three quarters and found itself down 47-38 with the ball and 5:03 remaining in the game. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Brewer and Grundy gave Bardstown a 53-40 lead with 3:45 left.

St. Xavier sophomore point guard Robert Shaw, who had been the team's leading scorer of late, didn't score his first points of the game - a 3-pointer - that brought his squad within 58-48 with 1:08 to go. Shaw finished with five points on 2-of-10 shooting.

The Tigers then used a 7-2 run to chop Bardstown's lead to 60-55 with 18 seconds remaining after B'town turned the ball over in the backcourt, but could get no closer.

"When the game gets to a 15-point lead, you play differently. Something obviously triggered with our guys from a pride standpoint that it was about to get extremely one-sided, and I'm proud of the way we fought back until the buzzer," said Klein. "But it needs to be from the start of the game and entering midway through the fourth quarter."

St. X's Nathan Smith scored 11 points off the bench, all from the free throw line (11-of-12), and helped the Tigers rack up 17 bench points. Junior guard Will Glasford had 7 points, 2 assists and a steal before fouling out with just seconds to go in the game. After the game officials did not allow St. X to properly sub Glasford out of the game following his fifth personal foul and subsequent disqualification, Klein was given a technical with 7.1 seconds to go in the game while attempting to state his case.

The St. Xavier interior players (Kiesler, Chris Mitchell and Nathan Jones) combined to go 16-of-20 from the charity stripe, but Klein said after the game that he hopes and expects to see the team's guards draw some attempts from the free-throw line.

"We want a better balance between our perimeter and inside players. Our inside players are the only guys that got to the foul line (tonight)," said Klein. "We just were out of synch all night. We had under 20 points in the first half. We only had seven assists for the game. We just didn't play with the cohesiveness and chemistry that we've played with most of the year. Hopefully we'll fix that tomorrow."

Mitchell (6) and Jones (6) combined for 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting and four rebounds.

The aforementioned Kiesler finished the game 5-of-8 from the floor and 7 of his game-high 13 rebounds came on the offensive end.

"In the second half (Kiesler) played very possessed. He wanted the ball, he was determined to finish, he got to the foul line and he rebounded at a high level," said Klein. "Those are the things that we expect Brock to do for 32 minutes. He's very, very good and hard to stop when he plays with the energy and passion that you saw in that stretch. We're trying to get him to that level every possession he's out on the court, and he's getting there."

The St. X loss drops the Tigers into Thursday's Republic Bank Holiday Classic consolation bracket, where St. Xavier (8-4) will take on Moore (9-3). Bardstown (7-3) has now won three straight games and will play the winner of No. 1 Trinity and Lakota West (OH) in the tournament semifinals on Thursday.


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