Four days after posting 31 points in a victory over rival Trinity, Connor McKim was perhaps even more impressive Tuesday.
The senior guard scored a career-high 37 points and added three rebounds and two steals as St. Xavier High School beat North Bullitt 63-45 in the second round of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
The Tigers (11-5) handed the Eagles (14-2) their first loss to a Kentucky opponent this season.
“When I get my shot falling down early it gives me a lot of confidence,” McKim said. “It seems everybody is fighting me in open spots, and when they do that I should knock down open shots.”
McKim was 9 of 15 from the field, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and hit 15 of 17 free throws. St. X advanced to face the winner of Wednesday’s Bullitt East-Butler game in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. quarterfinal.
Ryan Henson scored 17 points and Jared Free added 13 for North Bullitt, which led 35-29 midway through the third quarter before St. X took control.
McKim hit a trio of 3-pointers as the Tigers took a 42-37 lead with 6:58 remaining, and Austin Brian’s basket capped a 23-4 run that made it 52-39 with 3:49 left.
St. X was 9 of 17 from the field (52.9 percent) and 18 of 21 from the free-throw line (85.7 percent) in the second half.
“We wanted to speed them up and create more possessions in the second half,” St. X coach Kevin Klein said. “I think our defense did a good job of doing that. … Once that spark came, it became difficult for North Bullitt to get high-percentage shots they were getting in the first half.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ST. XAVIER 12 12 15 24 – 63
NORTH BULLITT 18 9 10 8 – 45
St. Xavier (11-5) – McKim 37, Basham 2, Ryan 2, Olsen 10, Brian 6, Walker 6.
North Bullitt (14-2) – Free 13, Napier 2, Higgs 2, Dunnavan 7, Henson 17, June 2, Holt 2.
3-point goals – McKim 4, Olsen; Henson 2.