By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
In what has become standard fare, Moeller combined balanced scoring, stingy defense and a solid rebounding edge to wrap up a second consecutive unbeaten season in the Greater Catholic League South Division and close the regular season with a convincing 58-32 win against Elder Friday night at The Pit in Price Hill. The victory keeps the Crusaders a perfect 12-0 in the calendar year and extends their GCL South winning streak to 14 games, dating back to February 2016. In Friday’s other GCL South game, senior Riley Haubner and sophomore Derek Eddings combined to score half of their team’s points to help La Salle post a 48-35 win against St. Xavier on the road.
Moeller (19-3, 6-0 GCL South) jumped out to a 28-13 lead at halftime, and then outscored Elder, 22-5, in the third period to put the game away. Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport led the Crusaders with 13 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Isaiah Payton added 11 points, senior forward Carlos Garcia had nine on three three-point goals, and senior Jaxson Hayes scored eight and blocked three shots. Moeller’s tight defense limited Elder (11-11, 1-5) to 13-of-48 shooting, 27.1 percent, and allowed the Panthers to go just 4-of-17 on three-pointers. Moeller also outrebounded Elder, 36-24. Senior guard Trevor Estep was the lone Panther in double figures, with 11.
Coach Carl Kremer’s team, ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly area coaches’ poll and up to No. 2 behind only undefeated Solon (18-0) in this week’s Associated Press DI state rankings, is looking for another lengthy run in the postseason that begins next week. Last season, Moeller made it unbeaten all the way to the state championship game without a loss before falling to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish 28-1. The Crusaders have not lost in 2018, the last setback coming at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., against talented Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, 47-44, on December 30.
Haubner and Eddings scored 14 and nine points, respectively, to lead No. 9 La Salle (13-9, 3-3) to its third straight win and help the Lancers earn sole possession of second place in the GCL South. Haubner made only two field goals, but connected on 10-of-11 free throws. La Salle knocked down 17-of-22 free throws, while St. Xavier – tied for No. 6 in The Enquirer’s poll – struggled shooting all night. The Bombers made only 12-of-47 shots from the field, 25.1 percent, and went 1-of-15 from three-point range. Senior Brandon Gilbert came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points, while no other Bomber had more than six points.
Gilbert had a solid game, going 6-of-11 from the field and converting 4-of-5 free throws to go along with five rebounds, while senior forward Bobby Jefferson added six points and a team-best seven rebounds for St. Xavier (14-7, 2-4). After posting an impressive 7-1 record in January, with the lone loss coming at Moeller, the Bombers have dropped three of five games this month. St. Xavier is the lone GCL South team in action today, the final day of the regular season, traveling to Woodward to face the Bulldogs. Tipoff is 7:30 this evening.