By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Senior guard Isaiah Payton lead a balanced offense with 13 points to help Moeller remain unbeaten in the calendar year and take the next step in its postseason journey Saturday evening, posting a 61-39 over Withrow at Hamilton High School in a district semifinal game of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Basketball Tournament. The Crusaders, who finished as DI state runner-up last March, advances to meet Kettering Fairmont in a district final at 3 p.m. Saturday at the University of Dayton Arena. Fairmont advanced with a 73-48 win over Miamisburg in Saturday’s semis. Moeller is now 50-4 in the last two seasons.
St. Xavier did not enjoy the same fate as its Greater Catholic League South Division colleague last night, as the Bombers were unable to pull off a season sweep of Oak Hills (having won 55-54 during the regular season). This time, St. Xavier got off to a slow start and could never recover in a 59-47 loss to the Highlanders at Lakota West. St. Xavier (17-8), which had its three-game winning streak snapped, fell behind 22-11 after one quarter and 40-18 at halftime and could never recover this time. Oak Hills, which won for the sixth straight game to up its record to 18-6 , advances to play Huber Heights Wayne in a district final at 7 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena.
GCL South member Elder (14-11), coming off wins against Mason and Winton Woods, also will make the trek up Interstate 75 to UD Arena Saturday. The Panthers will face Springfield in the last game at 9 p.m. at UD Arena, giving West-side high school basketball fans the chance to see Oak Hills and Elder play back-to-back in the night session. A Greater Miami Conference matchup between Lakota East and Princeton tips off the four district finals at 1.
Payton was joined in double figures against Withrow by senior forwards Carlos Garcia and Jeremiah Davenport, who had 12 and 11 points, respectively. All five Moeller starters scored at least eight points, including senior Jaxon Hayes – a University of Text recruit and the GCL South Defensive Player of the Year who had eight points, grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and blocked five shots. Junior guard Alex Pfriem had nine points and a team-best five assists for the GCL South champion Crusaders (22-3) – who have not lost since falling to highly regarded Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, 47-44, in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. back on December 30.
Junior guard Nathan Stockman and senior forward Bobby Jefferson were the lone players in double figures for St. Xavier, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jefferson finished a perfect 5-of-5 from the field on a night when the Bombers connected on just 18-of-45 field goals, 40 percent, including 4-of-21 from three-point range. Still, it was a solid season for St. Xavier – which finished with its most victories since going 23-3, including 5-1 in the postseason, in the 2007-08 season. The Bombers, who won a combined 14 games the previous two seasons, posted a 7-1 record in a strong January – the lone loss that month to Moeller.