By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It was a good night for Elder and La Salle on Tuesday, as the Greater Catholic League South Division members stepped out of league play to post basketball victories against two teams from the Greater Miami Conference. Senior guard Aidan Byrne scored a team-high 14 points, and Elder outscored Oak Hills, 27-17, in the second half to post a 45-31 win against its West-side rival before a sold-out crowd at The Pit in Price Hill.
Senior Nathan Vogelpohl scored a game-high 18 points to lead three double-figure scorers to help La Salle jump out to an early nine-point lead and emerge with a 67-62 win at Hamilton. The win was the second straight for the Lancers, who have won six of their last seven – the lone loss at unbeaten Moeller, the defending Division I state champion that is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press DI state poll.
Moeller and St. Xavier did not play Tuesday. St. Xavier posted a 48-41 win against Beavercreek on Monday, while Moeller survived a tough test before eventually posting a 61-53 victory against GMC leader Lakota East Sunday night as part of the inaugural Midwest King Classic at Middletown High School’s Wade E. Miller Arena. The single-digit win, the first this season to Moeller extended the Crusaders’ overall winning streak to 33 games dating back to December 2017. The victory also gave the GCL South a 3-0 record against the GMC this week.
Elder snapped a four-game losing streak with its win against visiting Oak Hills. Besides leading the Panthers in scoring, Byrne added three rebounds, three steals and two assists while also knocking down four three-pointers. Junior guard Matthew Luebbe scored nine points, including eight during the third quarter as Elder outscored Oak Hills (9-5), 12-6, to take command. The Panthers are starting to get healthy and are playing better, said coach Joe Schoenfeld. Elder led Moeller, 34-33, after three quarters last Friday before being outscored, 17-5, in the final eight minutes. The Panthers also were tight with Covington Catholic Saturday, before fading in the fourth quarter.
La Salle, which also posted a win in the King Classic by defeating Thurgood Marshall, 60-48, on Sunday, jumped out to a 15-6 lead after one quarter against Hamilton (8-6). Vogelpohl hit 7-of-9 field goals, including 3-of-4 from three-point range for the Lancers – who made 24-of-38 field goals (63.2 percent), made 6-of-10 three-pointers, and sank 13-of-17 free throws. Junior Jaylen Lemons added 16 points, while junior Derek Eddings chipped in 13 points and five assists. Junior Michael Wergers, the leading rebounder in the GCL South, scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds.
All four teams are off until Friday, when Moeller (13-0, 2-0 GCL South) looks to make it 16 straight GCL South wins when it visits St. Xavier (8-7, 1-1), and Elder (7-9, 0-2) travels to La Salle (9-5, 1-1). Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m. Moeller and La Salle also are in action Saturday. The Crusaders host Springfield at 5 p.m. at the Brisben Family Education Center, while La Salle takes on Oak Hills on the road at 7:30 that evening.