By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Senior guard Zach Harp scored a team-high 10 points to lead a balanced Elder offense, and the Panthers capitalized on a huge first quarter to post a 47-34 victory over Mt. Healthy in the opening round of a Cincinnati Division I sectional basketball tournament Friday night at Fairfield High School, joining Greater Catholic League member La Salle – a 60-40 victor over Lakota West one night earlier – by advancing in the postseason. No. 1 seed and GCL South champion Moeller and St. Xavier will attempt to do the same when they close out the week with tournament games tonight.
Moeller (19-3), winner of 12 consecutive games this calendar year, faces Harrison at 7:30 this evening at Hamilton. No. 7 seed St. Xavier (15-7) meets Loveland at 8 at Lakota West. No. 12 seed Elder advances to meet No. 4 Mason (15-5) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Fairfield, while No. 9 La Salle awaits a matchup with No. 11 Hamilton (12-10), another Greater Miami Conference member, at 7:30 Tuesday night at Lakota West. La Salle has won four straight games.
Harp led an Elder offense that had five players score six points or more in a relatively low-scoring game. In fact, the Panthers scored almost as many points – 21 – in the first quarter as they would in the final three periods, 26. Junior guard Michael Bittner had a solid game, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds (including four offensive), four assists and two steals. Junior Aidan Byrne and senior Trevor Estep each scored seven points for Elder (13-12), which snapped a brief two-game losing streak.