The St. Xavier-Trinity rivalry stretches back nearly 50 years, with both sides relishing the opportunity to gain the upper hand over the other in any sport.
But when it comes to this week’s AAU National Championships at the Kentucky Expo Center, bitter rivals become teammates.
The Louisville Spartans 16U/10th grade team is competing in the tournament this week with a 12-man roster comprised only of St. X and Trinity players. The Spartans lost their opening-round game on Wednesday to the South Carolina Gators, 65-59.
St. X and Trinity last played on January 14, where Trinity soundly defeated St. X 52-40. Trinity junior Jacob King said he and the other players see the irony in the two schools playing together, but says there’s no bad blood as long as they’re teammates.
“We’re all friends, it’s fun,” King said. “We’re all serious on the court.”
St. X junior Paul Oberst agreed, but said that once they’re on opposite sides of the court, the rivalry is renewed once again.
“I want to beat them as bad as they want to beat me.”
The Spartans’ next matchup in the tournament is against the Ohio CMB Assault at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Louisville Magic hope to learn from loss
Trailing 44-27 at halftime to the Squires Richmond club in the opening round of the AAU Boy’s Basketball National Championships and Super Showcases tournament, the Louisville Magic looked like they were in over their heads.
The team, comprised of only freshman, is playing against teams all with older players in the 16U/10th grade division of the six-day tournament. And the team’s lone big man, 6-foot-10-inch center Oumar Keita from Cordia High School, is out with a broken foot.
But that didn’t stop the club from making a big comeback against the Squires, scoring 35 points in the third quarter and forcing overtime with the scored tied 71-71.
The Magic started to pull away thanks to six overtime points Southwestern Pulaski High School freshman Steven Fitzgerald. The team led 86-80 halfway through the extra period, but gave up the lead with 21 seconds left, losing 90-88.
As dejected as the players seemed as they left the court, Magic coach Dayrl Moberly said he hopes they can learn from the loss as they continue in the tournament.
“For them, hopefully they can take away that you’ve got to play hard,” Moberly said. “The other team came in and hit us hard, we waited until we got down 20 until we wanted to fight.”
Moberly said the team gave up the overtime lead due to their inexperience with clock management.
“It’s kids not knowing how to manage the clock,” Moberly said. “They’re not even looking at the clock, they’re thinking the coach will them every play, and you can’t play like that.”
The tournament continues Thursday with games starting at 9 a.m at the Kentucky Expo Center.