By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
A rare off-shooting night caught up with Moeller in the quarterfinals of the prestigious Beach Ball Classic on Thursday, as the Crusaders had their three-game winning streak snapped in a 57-45 loss to Long Island (NY) Lutheran at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina. One day earlier, Elder struggled offensively in a 41-30 loss to Gibbs from St. Petersburg, Fla. in the opening round of the Suncoast Holiday Classic at Riverview High School in Sarasota. La Salle had better fate in its holiday hoops event, posting a 72-58 win over Dublin Jerome as part of the Stephen Gussler Holiday Invitational at Thomas Worthington High School Thursday in Greater Columbus.
St. Xavier, the fourth Greater Catholic League South Division member, is scheduled to face Licking Heights (5-2) in the first game of the Newark Christmas Tournament at 6 p.m. today at Newark High School. The Bombers – who have won three of their last four games – have not played since last Friday, when they suffered a close loss at West Clermont, 51-48. St. Xavier (4-2) is led by senior guard Nathan Stockman, who averages 17.5 points a game, second best in the league. Stockman also leads the GCL South in steals, averaging 2.5, while senior Bobby Jefferson ranks fifth in rebounding, pulling down 4.2 per game.
Moeller (6-2) could not get untracked against Long Island Lutheran, as the Crusaders never led and trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half. The Crusaders made just 14-of-45 field goals (40 percent) and hit just 3-of-14 from three-point range. Long Island Lutheran (6-1), located in Brookville, N.Y., had three players in double figures and hit 19-of-35 from the field while sinking 8-of-14 three-point goals. Seniors Jeremiah Davenport and Jaxson Hayes led Moeller with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Hayes also grabbed a team-high five rebounds before fouling out.
Moeller meets Clark (11-2) from Las Vegas at noon today. Like Moeller, Clark – a three-time Nevada state champion that finished 27-5 last season and is currently ranked No. 1 in its state – has split its first two games. The Chargers defeated Lanett, Ala., 59-38, in the opening game before falling to Cox Hill from Concord, N.C., 54-45, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Senior forward Riley Haubner, the GCL South leading scorer at 22 points per game, continued his torrid early-season scoring with a game-high 28 points to lead La Salle to victory over Dublin Jerome (4-2). The Lancers, who scored 41 points in the first two quarters to build a nine-point halftime lead, shot 53.7 percent (22-of-41) from the field and converted 22-of-29 free throws, including 11-of-14 by Haubner, to maintain the lead. Haubrner also had team highs of six rebounds, tied with senior Henry Louden, and three assists, tied with junior Kodyn Lambert. Junior Nathan Vogelpohl came off the bench to add 13 points for La Salle (3-2).
The Lancers face Reynoldsburg (5-4) at 6:45 tonight at Thomas Worthington. After a three-pointer at the buzzer by Chillicothe tied the game at 57 and forced overtime, a three-pointer by senior guard Jamiel Goliday of Reynoldsburg was the lone basketball in OT to lift the Raiders to a 60-57 win in Thursday’s opening round.
Like Moeller, Elder (2-5) was unable to get rolling on offense in its Florida tournament opener. The Panthers, who have now dropped four straight games, scored in single digits in the first three quarters before putting up 11 points in the fourth against Gibbs (6-3). Up next for Elder is Brandon, Fla. (2-6) at 3 this afternoon. Brandon lost o Fairdale, Ky., 73-32, in its first-round game Thursday. Elder is led by senior guard Zach Harp, who ranks third in the GCL South in scoring averaging 16.3 points a game entering the Suncoast Holiday Classic.