By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Junior guard Nathan Stockman scored a team-high 13 points to lead a balanced offense as St. Xavier built a 24-17 halftime lead, extending its advantage to as many as 13 points in the third quarter, to post a 53-45 victory over Woodward in its gymnasium on the final night of regular-season play before the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournaments begin this week across the state. The win wraps up a 15-7 regular season under third-year coach Jimmy Lallathin for St. Xavier, its best finish since going 14-9 in the 2014-15 season – the Bombers’ last winning season.
Stockman, a junior guard and the Bombers’ leading scorer at 12.5 points per game, was joined in double figures by junior forward Like Pellot – who came off the bench to score 11 – and seniors Brandon Gilbert and Bobby Jefferson, who each chipped in 10 for St. Xavier, which outscored Woodward, 12-0, in bench points. The Bombers also had 34 points in the paint, 11 steals and 10 assists. St. Xavier is scheduled to open the postseason by facing Loveland in the opening round of the Cincinnati sectional tournaments Saturday at Lakota West High School. Tipoff is 8 p.m.
The other three Greater Catholic League South Division members also open sectional play this week. La Salle (13-9), winner of three straight and five of its last six games, tips off GCL South postseason play against Lakota West at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hamilton High School. The Lancers defeated West, 64-53, on the road back on December 19 behind a 26-point effort from senior forward Riley Haubner, the league’s leading scorer at 21.3 points per game. Haubner was 7-of-12 from the field in the first meeting at West, including 3-of-4 from three-point range and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Elder (11-11) is scheduled to oppose Mt. Healthy in a first-round game at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Fairfield High School, when the Panthers attempt to snap a two-game losing streak. GCL South champion Moeller (19-3), which advanced to the Division I state championship game last season before suffering its only loss of the season, 39-38, to Massillon Jackson, puts a 12-0 record in 2018 on the line when it meets Harrison at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton High School. Moeller enters tournament play as the No. 1 seed in the Cincinnati sectionals.