Boys' basketball | Kentucky Country Day gets first-ever win in LIT

For the first time in school history, the boys’ basketball team at Kentucky Country Day won a game in the Louisville Invitational Tournament.

The Bearcats led most of the game and held off Butler 63-60 in Monday night’s first round of the 67th annual Republic Bank LIT at Valley High School.

“This is a big win for us,” said KCD coach James Booker III. “Because of our schedule, we thought we had a good chance tonight.”

KCD (10-5) will face No. 1-ranked Ballard on Wednesday night at 6:30. The Bruins beat KCD 101-62 on Jan. 8.

“We knew a big key to the game was how we handled their press,” Booker said.

“I thought we did a really good job of handling the ball.”

Against Butler’s high-pressured full-court press, the Bearcats committed just 16 turnovers, and also forced 16.

The Bearcats stayed in front with accurate perimeter shooting, hitting 6 of 11 from the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, the Bears hit just 4 of 18 from beyond the arc.

Inside the last minute, KCD missed two front-end of bonus free throws but finally made two when Anthony Mathis stepped to the line with 2.9 seconds left, sealing the win.

Colin Ferguson led KCD with 21 points, hitting 4 of 6 shots and all 10 of this free throws. Malyiek McCray added 19 points, hitting 8 of 11 shots.

For Butler (5-10), Kermit Malone led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jeremiah Bell added 13 points and seven rebounds.

* The Chargers (7-8) outscored the Bulldogs (7-7) in every quarter and cruised behind sticky man-to-man to break a four-game losing string. Jeffersontown 66, Male 51:

“We’re just trying to get better like everybody else,” J’town coach Clay Moody said. “I think our guys got better tonight.”

Daniel Williams and Brandon Johnson combined for seven 3-pointers to lead Jeffersontown. Johnson, who hit 4 of 9 from long range, led the Chargers with 20 pointers.

“Those two guys are two of the best shooters I’ve coached,” Moody said. “When they’re hitting, it makes things a little bit easier for us.”

Brandon Horne, who hit 4 of 9 from 3-point range, led Male with 25 points. Cornelius Watts added 11 rebounds and seven points.

Despite the win, Moody said the Chargers have a long ways to go. “We’re a work in progress,” he said. “But I like these kids. They’re fun to coach and they work hard.”

The Chargers now must face district rival Bullitt East (14-1) Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 in the second round.

* The Warriors (12-3) used an effective inside-outside punch to dump the Cougars (7-6), making their first-ever LIT appearance.Western 73, Holy Cross 57:

Kittrell Withers, who hit all four of his 3-pointers in the first half, paced Western with 18 points. Terrell Howard added 16 points. On the side, Kemory Malone powered his way to 13 and 11 rebounds.

Jack Schmitt led Holy Cross with 18 points.

Western will face No. 4-seed St. Xavier (12-2) Wednesday at 5 p.m.

* Nick Phillips scored eight straight points for the Colts (12-4) late in the third quarter, propelling DeSales past the pesky Redhawks (3-15). DeSales 55, Seneca 52:

After the outburst from Phillips, who led DeSales with 15 points, DeSales led 41-35 and Seneca couldn’t catch its opponent the rest of the way.

DeSales coach John Mingus said he was glad to get out of Valley with a win. “They are long and athletic, and they cover ground,” he said. “It was a good win for us. … Any team with length and size and athletic ability is going to give us problems.”

Orand Collins led Seneca with 15 points. Chris Coffee added 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Colts will face No. 2 Trinity (11-2) Wednesday night at 8:15.

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