By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Senior forward Jaxson Hayes had team highs of 15 points and eight rebounds to help Moeller remain perfect in 2018 and clinch at least a share of its sixth consecutive Greater Catholic League South Division championship with a 59-30 victory over La Salle Friday night at Moeller’s Brisben Family Center, while Elder erupted for a huge second half – outscoring St. Xavier, 42-20, in the final two quarters to break open a close game and post its first GCL South victory this season, 67-46, at The Pit to split the season series between the two schools. Moeller can win the title outright with a win either at second-place St. Xavier next Friday or at Elder on February 16.
Hayes, a University of Texas recruit, paced three double-figure scorers for Moeller (14-3, 4-0 GCL South), which is now 7-0 this calendar year and stretched its league winning streak to 12 games, including the postseason, dating back to February 2016. The Crusaders, ranked No. 2 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly area coaches’ poll behind Princeton, combined good shooting (21-of 39 field goals, for 53.8 percent) with stingy defense – limiting La Salle to just 4-of-20 shooting and 13 points in the first half to build a 12-point lead. Moeller held the Lancers to 1-of-7 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Hayes was joined in double figures by seniors Jeremiah Davenport, who had 112 points and six rebounds, and Carlos Garcia, who finished with 10 points and a team-best four assists. Junior guard Alec Pfriem had seven points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Isaiah Payton also had seven points. Senior forward Riley Haubner, the GCL South leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, had a team-high 13 points but was held to just 4-of-17 shooting from the field. La Salle (10-9, 1-3) was 10-of-48 from the field, including 3-of-17 from three-point range.
St. Xavier, looking for its fifth consecutive victory and third win in four GCL South games, held a slim 26-25 advantage at halftime. That, however, vanished in the third quarter as Elder erupted to outscore the Bombers, 27-10, to take control. Elder added to its lead in the final eight minutes to record its first league victory. Elder (10-9, 1-3) has now won two straight games and four of its last five to move over the .500 mark. Junior forward Michael Bittner scored a season-high 22 points to lead all scorers. Bittner entered Friday’s game averaging less than three points, with a season high of nine points in a 65-62 win against Springboro back in December.
Senior forward Andrew Broxterman added 16 for the Panthers.
Senior forward Chase Wolf was the lone Bomber starter with more than two field goals, finishing with three and a team-high 14 points. Junior guard Nathan Stockman added nine points for St. Xavier (12-5, 2-2), while senior forward Bobby Jefferson led St. Xavier with eight rebounds. The Bombers – who had won seven of eight games in 2018 – shot 33 percent (12-of-36) and were 6-of-21 from three-point range.
Three GCL South teams have games tonight. Moeller travels to take on Springfield, Bishop Fenwick is at St. Xavier, and Elder hosts Cincinnati Country Day. All games tip off at 7:30. La Salle does not play again until next Tuesday, when the Lancers travel to face GCL Co-Ed member Dayton Chaminade-Julienne at 7:30 p.m.