Davenport, Hayes Pace Moeller In GCL Opener; Elder, La Salle Even Records With Saturday Non-League Wins

 Photo courtesy Geoff Blankenship for the Enquirer

Photo courtesy Geoff Blankenship for the Enquirer

By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner 

Seniors Jeremiah Davenport and Jaxson Hayes, who rank among Greater Catholic League South Division leaders in several statistical categories, combined to score 36 points and grab 13 rebounds to lead Moeller to a 75-52 victory over St. Xavier in the GCL South opener for both schools Saturday night at Moeller’s Brisben Family Center.  The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved back a day because of inclement weather.  The win was the ninth straight against league opponents – including postseason play – for Moeller, which has won or shared the GCL South title each of the last five seasons.

Elder is the last GCL South team to beat Moeller, earning a 48-43 victory at The Pit on February 5, 2016.

GCL South members Elder and La Salle also were in action Saturday.  Elder scored 30 points in the first quarter to take an early double-digit lead and go on to post a 79-43 victory over St. Mary’s from Lancaster, N.Y. in the afternoon at The Pit in Price Hill, while La Salle traveled to Greater Dayton to record a 67-62 overtime win over Kettering Alter last evening.  The victory was the Lancers’ second win in as many days, having knocked off St. Mary’s, 55-28, Friday afternoon at La Salle – moving the game up to 4:30 p.m. to play on a day when virtually every other local high school basketball game was canceled because of a winter storm.

Davenport scored a game-high 22 points, hitting 9-of-17 field goals, and pulled down seven rebounds for Moeller (9-3, 1-0 GCL South), while Hayes added 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed six rebounds.  Senior guard Isaiah Payton also scored in double figures with 11, as Moeller outscored St. Xavier, 23-11, in both the first and fourth quarters to earn the win.  The Crusaders dominated the boards too, outrebounding St. Xavier, 36-15, including 11 offensive rebounds – with Davenport leading the way with four.  Moeller also shot well, hitting 30-of-48 field goals for 62.5 percent.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for St. Xavier (8-4, 0-1), which was led by 19 from senior forward Chase Wolf and 11 from fellow classmate Andrew Wittrock.  Junior guard Nathan Stockman, the Bombers’ leading scorer averaging just over 15 points a game, finished with eight points.  The Bombers, who had shot better than 54 percent as a team in their previous three games, struggled against Moeller’s patented tough defense – sinking just 21-of-51 field goals for 41.2 percent, including 5-of-16 from three-point range.

Elder (6-6) has now won two straight since dropping a tough 40-38 decision to La Salle at home in the GCL South opener for both schools nine days ago.  Against St. Mary’s, the Panthers were led by 14 point each from senior guards Zach Harp and Trevor Estep.  Senior guard Brett Marsh added 10 for Elder, which led 30-12 at the end of the first quarter and extended the advantage to 46-21 by intermission against St. Mary’s (8-3).  Up next for Elder is a short trek to Delhi to face rival Oak Hills at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.  The game is part of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Bluegrass-Buckeye Charity Classic, with $1 from each ticket sold benefiting four local charities.

Like Elder, La Salle (6-6) evened its overall record by outlasting Alter on Saturday evening.  The Lancers, who host rival Colerain at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, have now won two straight games.  Against Alter, La Salle had to rally in the fourth quarter, 12-7, to tie the game at 55 and force the extra period.  La Salle then outscored Alter, 12-7, in OT to emerge with the win.  La Salle senior forward Riley Haubner, who leads the GCL South in scoring, poured in a game-high 28 points to lead the Lancers.  La Salle hosts Moeller at 7:30 p.m. Friday.  Both schools are off to 1-0 starts in the league.