Frustration! 7-point fourth quarter sinks BE

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2016 Republic Bank Boys’ Louisville Invitational Tournament

By Mike Farner

 VALLEY STATION – The worst quarter of the season cost the Bullitt East Chargers dearly on Friday as the red and gold fell 54-49 to the St. Xavier Tigers.

A seven-point fourth quarter ousted the Chargers in the quarterfinals of the Republic Bank Boys’ Louisville Invitational Tournament.

Bullitt East opened the game with a 10-2 surge and didn’t trail until the fourth quarter. The Chargers were up 42-36 entering the final frame when the offense suddenly stopped producing.

At the same time that Bullitt East was misfiring on the offensive end, St. Xavier senior standout Conner McKim was heating up.

McKim had exploded for 37 points three nights earlier against North Bullitt; however, Bullitt East held the senior to 11 points through three quarters with a basic man-to-man defense with the rotation of Garrett Wilson, Conner Green and Garrett Ezell supplying the pressure.

In the fourth quarter, McKim got free for a pair of three-pointers in a three-minute span over the first half of the frame. The second of those three-pointers put the Tigers up 46-45 at the 4:07 mark and the Seventh Region foe never trailed again.

McKim scored 15 of his team’s 18 points over the final eight minutes and finished with a game-high 26 points. When the Tigers got the lead, Bullitt East had to foul and McKim was nine of 10 on free throws.

This was obviously a frustrating and disappointing loss for the Chargers, who had hopes of winning the program’s first LIT title. 

Head coach Bob Blackburn kept his remarks short after the game.

“What cost us was being outscored 18-7 in the fourth quarter,” he said. “They took charges. They took a bunch of charges.”

On McKim’s scoring in the fourth quarter, Blackburn said, “He shot a bunch of free throws.” Blackburn said.

What did cost the Chargers before the final run was that they didn’t take advantage of some opportunities over the first three quarters to push the lead out when they had chances. They let St. Xavier stay close and that allowed the Tigers to make the late run.

“A lot of it goes back to missed opportunities in the first half,” Blackburn said. “We had opportunities in the fourth quarter and didn’t take advantage. The whole game was missed opportunities.”

As the Tigers started their run in the fourth quarter, Bullitt East spread the floor. Blackburn said the team wasn’t looking to run time off the clock, but instead was looking to get the ball to the basket. Unfortunately, the team made some bad passes and turned the ball over.

“We were trying to attack the rim and we didn’t do a good job,” Blackburn pointed out.

In the fourth quarter, five of the seven points for the Chargers were scored by senior Jared Farris.

Even with all the offensive problems down the stretch, Bullitt East still had chances to win in the final 90 seconds. St. X was up 49-47 when McKim missed his only free throw of the game at the 1:25 mark. At the other end, Tyler Sharpe was called for a charge, but the red and gold got the ball back when St. X was called for a push on the inbounds play.

However, the Chargers again missed an opportunity when Sharpe lost the ball that led to a jump ball that went to the Tigers. McKim then hit two free throws at :53.7. Twice Bullitt East had short shots that wouldn’t go before a jump ball gave them the ball again. This time, Konner Polson got a tip-in that made it 51-49 with 30 seconds to play.

After St. X’s William Basham hit one of two free throws with 23 seconds to play, Bullitt East opted to go to the basket, but even then Bailey Rakes’ lay-up rolled off and they couldn’t get a tip-in, finally fouling McKim with ten seconds to play and the senior sealed the win by hitting both chances.

Sharpe paced the Chargers with 15 points while Brandon Klefot scored nine points and pulled down seven rebounds before fouling out late in the game.

The loss dropped Bullitt East to 14-3 overall while St. Xavier (12-5) advanced to play Ballard in the tournament’s semi-finals on Saturday morning.


Republic Bank Boys’ Louisville Invitational Tourney at Valley HS


BULLITT EAST 49 (12-16-14-7) Tyler Sharpe 15, Bailey Rakes 3, Conner Green 3, Konner Polson 6, Brandon Klefot 9, Garrett Wilson 6, Jared Farris 7.

SAINT XAVIER 54 (8-14-14-18) Connor McKim 26, Paul Orberst 2, William Basham 6, William Olsen 5, Austin Brian 3, Evan Walker 10, John Pierce Kiesler 2.