By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Junior guard Derek Eddings nailed a three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining to erase a one-point deficit and give La Salle a 39-37 victory over St. Xavier in the Greater Catholic League South Division opener for both schools Friday night at Berning Gymnasium on the St. Xavier High School campus. The Bombers had a chance to tie or win the game on their final possession, but missed three shots in the final 10 seconds before senior guard Nathan Vogelpohl grabbed the final rebound to preserve the come-from-behind win for the Lancers.
Elder also was in action Friday night, posting a 53-32 victory over North College Hill in a non-conference game at The Pit in Price Hill. Senior Aidan Byrne led a balanced Panthers’ attack with 10 points to go along with two assists and two steals. Junior guard Willard Cluxton added eight points, four assists and three steals for Elder (6-5), while junior guard Matthew Luebbe chipped in eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
Top-ranked Moeller is scheduled to tip off 2019 at 5 p.m. today when it hosts Centerville at the Brisben Family Education Center. The Crusaders are looking to extend their winning streak to 30 games dating back to December 2017. Moeller (9-0) is winning by an average margin of 34.2 points this season, with no opponent coming closer than 16 points – which was in the championship game of the Suncoast Holiday Classic in Sarasota, Fla., a 64-46 win against Lakewood from St. Petersburg, Fla. in the Crusaders’ last game on December 29.
It did not appear early as if La Salle (5-4, 1-0 GCL South) was going to be able to post its second straight victory overall and ninth in a row at St. Xavier. St. Xavier jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and led by seven at halftime, But La Salle narrowed the deficit to 29-25 after three quarters, and then came alive in the game’s final minutes. St. Xavier, though, struggled in the final eight minutes – going 2-of-14 from the field and 0-of-6 on three-pointers. The Bombers made one of their final 12 attempts from the field and were held without a field goal in the final 2:37.
Despite the tough shooting quarter, senior guard Nathan Stockman still managed to put St. Xavier in front, 37-36, when he sank two free throws with 1:03 remaining. But the Lancers made the most of their final possession, with junior guard Jaylen Lemons finding Eddings for the game-winning three. Eddings finished with a game-high 17 points, his season high (previous best was 14 against Withrow), and five rebounds. Lemons added nine points and six rebounds, while junior center Michael Wergers did not score but grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Thomas was the lone double-figure scorer for St. Xavier (5-5, 0-1), finishing with 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Stockman had 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Both teams struggled from the field all night, combining to sink 25-of-92 field goals (27.2 percent) and make just 4-of-31 three-pointers (12.9).
St. Xavier will attempt to snap its brief two-game losing streak when it travels to GCL Co-Ed member Purcell Marian at 7:30 tonight, while La Salle looks to make it three straight wins when it meets neighborhood rival Colerain on the road at that same time.