By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
The Greater Catholic League South Division basketball schedule begins tonight with La Salle traveling on North Bend Road to face St. Xavier in the league opener for the 2018-19 season. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at St. Xavier’s Berning Gymnasium. Elder also is in action tonight, hosting North College Hill at 7:30 at The Pit in Price Hill, while defending league champion Moeller looks to make it 30 straight victories when it hosts Centerville at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Brisben Family Education Center on its Montgomery Road campus.
La Salle and St. Xavier are both looking to start the six-game conference schedule with a victory, knowing an early loss could make chasing Moeller very difficult. The Crusaders have won or shared the last five GCL South titles, are the defending Division I state champions having just completed a perfect 2018 calendar year, and are riding a 13-game league winning streak into their GCL South opener against La Salle a week from tonight at Moeller.
The La Salle-St. Xavier game features two of the league’s top scorers in St. Xavier senior guard Nathan Stockman, who is averaging 15.6 points a game – just behind league leader Miles McBride of Moeller, at 15.7. Stockman has helped the Bombers to a 5-4 record against non-conference opponents, including a 4-1 start against Greater Cincinnati opponents. St. Xavier has dropped three of its last four games against out-of-area teams, including a 1-2 finish at the St. Pius X Christmas Classic in Atlanta last week.
Junior guard Jaylen Lemons of La Salle is fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 13.9 points to help the Lancers to a 4-4 record. La Salle is coming off a 66-62 road victory at Kings last Saturday, with Lemons scoring a team-high 16 points by hitting 9-of-11 free throws, with five rebounds and three assists. The teams split two meetings last season, with each school winning on the road. St. Xavier took the first meeting at La Salle, 60-53, on January.
26, but the Lancers rebounded to win the second game at St. Xavier, 48-35, on February 16.
Elder (5-5) is looking to open 2019 with back-to-back non-conference victories. After facing NCH tonight at home, the Panthers hit the road to meet Northwest at 7:30 tomorrow night. Moeller (9-0), which capped a 29-0 year with the championships in the Suncoast Holiday Classic in Sarasota, Fla., puts its winning streak on the line against Centerville on Saturday. Centerville has played one GCL South team this season, posting a 51-49 road victory at La Salle last weekend.