By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Senior forward Jaxon Hayes scored a team-high 21 points, hitting 8-of-10 field goals, grabbed five rebounds and recorded three blocked shots in 20 minutes to lead a balanced scoring attack and help Moeller post a 73-48 victory over Wilmington Friday night at Moeller’s Brisben Family Center in the Crusaders’ final tune up before the team heads to Myrtle Beach, S.C. after Christmas to participate in the prestigious Beach Ball Classic. Greater Catholic League South members Elder and St. Xavier also were in action last night, with both teams dropping road games at Eastern Cincinnati Conference schools by a combined seven points.
Elder lost at Walnut Hills, 49-45, while St. Xavier had its three-game winning streak snapped at West Clermont, 51-48. La Salle did not play Friday. All four GCL South teams are off until next week, when they will play in holiday basketball tournaments in Ohio, Florida and South Carolina.
Hayes, a University of Texas recruit, helped Moeller (5-1) outscore Wilmington, 47-20, in the second and third quarters to erase a three-point deficit after one quarter. Hayes was joined in double figures by senior Jeremiah Davenport (13 points, six rebounds), senior Isaiah Payton (12) and junior Eric Pfriem (12). Pfriem had a team-high seven assists for Moeller, which recorded 20 in the game and also had seven steals.
The Crusaders, who have won 30 of their last 31 regular-season games dating back to February last year, face unbeaten Scott County (7-0) from Georgetown, Ky. In the first round of the prestigious 16-team national Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center at 7 p.m. Thursday. The event runs through next Saturday, December 30. Moeller’s lone loss this season is to a Kentucky team in unbeaten Covington Catholic on the road, 48-43.
Elder (2-4) lost its third straight game Friday, this time falling by just four points at unbeaten Walnut Hills (5-0). Next up for the Panthers is their annual trek to Florida to play in the Suncoast Holiday Tournament. Elder opens the annual event, which is celebrating its 26-year anniversary, by facing t. Lauderdale Stranahan (7-0) at Riverview High School in Sarasota.
St. Xavier (4-2) struggled through a tough shooting night at West Clermont (4-2), connecting on just 18-of-50 field goals, including 2-of-15 from three-point range, while only hitting 50 percent (10-of-20) of its free throws. Still, despite the off-shooting night and a seven-point second quarter, St. Xavier managed to tie the game at 35 heading into the fourth quarter. Junior guard Nathan Stockman led the Bombers with 18 points and six rebounds, while senior forward Bobby Jefferson added 14. St. Xavier is off until next Friday, when the Bombers will play Licking Heights (5-2) from Pataskala, Ohio at 6 p.m. in the Newark Christmas Tournament at Newark High School.
La Salle (2-3) plays Dublin Jerome at 5 p.m. Thursday as part of the Stephen Gussler Holiday Invitational at Thomas Worthington High School in Greater Columbus. Senior forward Riley Haubner is off to a fast start for the Lancers, leading the GCL South in scoring averaging 20.5 points in three games. Haubner has scored 18 or more points in three of his four games, including a season-high 29 in La Salle’s opening 78-49 win over Shroder Paideia. The Lancers also play Reynoldsburg at 6:45 p.m. Friday in the event before returning to Cincinnati to face rival Oak Hills at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mount St. Joseph University.