McKim scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to propel St. X to a 55-48 upset victory over Trinity at Broadbent Arena. In coming back from a nine-point deficit, the Tigers beat their vaunted archrival on the basketball court for the first time in nearly three years.
“It’s nothing new,” said Klein of McKim, who sank 11 of 12 free throws in the final 5:12. “He’s been doing that all year. I think he’s the top point guard in the state.”
But early on, it looked as if the Shamrocks (13-3), the No. 4 team in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, would continue their dominance over the Tigers. They shot 53.8 percent in the first quarter, and then when their initial shots stopped falling, they scored seven of their first nine points in the second quarter thanks to their offensive rebounding.
Eventually, Trinity’s lead grew to 28-19 with 1:10 left in the half, but the Tigers ended the half on a nice run thanks to an offensive rebound of their own and some staunch defense. Pierce Kiesler notched a three-point play on a putback of a missed 3-pointer by McKim, and after a five-second call against Trinity in its halfcourt, Kiesler would make a layup with 18 seconds left to cut the margin to four at halftime.
GALLERY | Tigers edge rival
“I thought we did a solid job in the first half, except for the last couple minutes right before halftime,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “We gave them some momentum going into halftime.”
After the break, momentum continued to swing St. X’s way as Trinity’s Jacob King was called for his third foul just 15 seconds into the third quarter. The Tigers then continued its run and took their first lead of the game, 29-28, on a William Olsen 3-pointer with 5:29 left in the third.
As King sat out most of the quarter, the Rocks, who were led by Lukas Burkman’s 17 points, made just 3 of 9 shots.
Klein said the four-minute stretch bookending halftime was huge for his team.
“We won both of those segments, and that set us up to win the game,” he said.
The game would remain back-and-forth for the rest of the period, and Austin Brian – playing in his first game since Dec. 12 after sustaining a shoulder injury – put back a McKim miss at the third quarter buzzer to tie the game 36-36.
Olsen, who finished with 10 points, scored two layups in the first 1:16 of the fourth quarter to give St. X the lead for good. McKim took it from there.
“This is a win we’ve wanted for so long, and for Trinity to be so good this year, that is just really huge for us, and a huge steppingstone for the rest of the season,” McKim said.
It also served as an emotional win for Klein, who lost his father to cancer on July 31. His dad not only served as his coach in grade school, but he also served as his official scorer during Klein’s first nine years as a head coach.
“I just talked to him all day, and before the game, and said ‘we’re going to go get this done,’” Klein said. “I could just feel the strength that he was giving me throughout the game, and I know he’s definitely smiling.”