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Rockets fall 63-62 at St. Xavier

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By Laura Clark

LOUISVILLE -- St. Xavier edged Shelby County 63-62 Friday, the Rockets' first loss since Jan. 12, nine games ago.

Shelby led through the first quarter, then piled on turnovers in the second quarter, as St. Xavier brought the game to a tie at 28 going into halftime. The Rockets and Tigers traded turnovers in the third quarter. Cache Tomlinson hit a three to put Shelby up 41-36, their largest lead since the first quarter.

But the Tigers answered with a 8-0 run to close the third quarter with a 44-41 lead.

In the fourth, Donovan Johnson briefly tied the game at 48 when he finished a 3-point play, but the Rockets shots weren't falling, and a few possessions later Shelby was playing catch up.

Tavis Elzy finished down low off a press-forced turnover to give the Rockets a 62-61 lead with less than 20 seconds to play. St. Xavier broke the Rockets' press and Tiger Nick Spalding made a layup to take the lead back.

With 6.1 seconds to score, Shelby worked the ball downcourt against the Tiger press. Boomer Beckley drove across midcourt, with Tomlinson getting set for a three on the wing and Johnson heading to the post from the opposite side. But as Beckley tried to shake a trap with a pivot, his foot slipped out from under him and the referee called him for a walk, ending the game.

Darryl Hicks led all scorers with 19 points. Johnson had 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Patrick Butcher led the Tigers with 13 points.