The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Xavier News

The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Xavier News

The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Xavier News

Tiger Basketball: One Trophy Down

Jack Bates

The Tiger basketball team achieved one of their key objectives this past weekend by winning the Louisville Invitational Tournament (LIT) for the first time since 1965.

In their first test against regional rivals Male High School, the Tigers triumphed thanks to a strong offensive showing led by junior Chance Dillingham, who scored an impressive 31 points. Dillingham hit six three-pointers and shot an impressive 64% from the field, earning him the title of LIT Most Valuable Player.

“We all just work together,” Dillingham said post-game on the team’s composure and on-court chemistry. “We don’t ever want to get ahead of ourselves; we always got to just stay who we are.”

Chance Dillingham after receiving MVP reward. (Charlie Clark)

The Tigers’ most anticipated matchup of the season was their semifinal against Trinity in the LIT. The Tigers struggled offensively, with multiple turnovers and missed shots leading to a two-point halftime deficit.

True to the rivalry, the game went into overtime with a thrilling finish. With the clock winding down, sophomore guard Chief Cameron managed to put back Jeremiah Jackson’s missed shot at the buzzer, propelling the Tigers to the LIT Championship for the first time since 1967.

“Honestly, I was just nervous,” Cameron said on taking the shot. “I felt amazing after it went in.”

Unfortunately, the Tigers fell short against Male in the final game.

Facing Butler in the LIT Championship, the Tigers started strong with junior Graham Krezmein scoring the first 10 points of the game. Their offense continued to roll, opening up a 19-point lead over the Bears by halftime. However, Butler fought back and cut the lead to two points in the fourth quarter. The Tigers, however, remained resilient and pulled out a win to capture the LIT Championship, their third in program history.

This victory is a significant achievement for the Tigers, and a good indicator of their potential as they turn their attention to Rupp Arena and the rest of the season. The Tigers proved they can overcome adversity and come out on top, qualities that will serve them well in future contests.

Coach Kevin Klein after winning the tournament. (Charlie Clark )

The Tigers’ rigorous schedule, which included breaking KHSAA and St. Xavier scoring records, prepared them well for the LIT. They also faced the third-ranked team in the nation, Prolific Prep from Napa, California, at the Derrick Smith Invitational.

Although the Tigers couldn’t secure the upset, they held their own, only losing by nine points and impressing spectators like University of Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari, who praised their performance and offered words of encouragement to Coach Klein and the team.

In another game, the Tigers had the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of University of Louisville men’s basketball head coach Kenny Payne, who attended their highly anticipated rivalry game against Trinity at Valley High School. This highlights the growing recognition and respect the Tigers are earning in the basketball community.

In December, the Tigers took advantage of a team-building trip to Florida, where they competed against top teams and won two out of three games. This experience built upon their strong start to the season, which included setting multiple Saint Xavier and KHSAA scoring records, including a school record of 119 points against Western Heights Australia in November.

As the Tigers enter the most challenging part of their schedule, they will have to face their two toughest rivals, Male and Trinity, in consecutive weeks. The Tigers will need to maintain their momentum if they hope to continue their winning streak and make a statement in district play.

About the Contributors
Reece Mozzali, Staff Writer
Reece is a red shirt freshman journalist. He is also a triplet whose twin brother also attends St. X. He is a huge Kentucky Wildcats fan who has attended 21 football games. Then is an avid pickle ball player with hopes of turning pro one day.
William Lewis, Photographer
William Lewis is an avid golf player. He loves to throw down a wager as he only plays good when there’s something on the line. He also believes UK will win the college football playoffs. He is extremely excited to get his max contract extension with the xavier news team.
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