By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Torrid shooting, stingy defense, balanced scoring and fast starts have all been staples of the Moeller High School basketball team the last two seasons – helping the Crusaders enter Tuesday night’s sectional tournament game with a 43-game winning streak that dates back to December 2017 and includes last year’s Division I state championship. All four pieces were in place against Talawanda, as Moeller shot 58.3 percent (21-of-36) from the field, held the Braces to single digits in every quarter, had 11 players score and led 23-7 after one quarter and 38-10 at halftime en route to a 58-17 victory at Fairfield High School.
It was a tough night otherwise for the Greater Catholic League South Division, with La Salle and St. Xavier seeing their respective seasons come to an end in the postseason openers. La Salle (12-11) managed to score just three points in overtime in a 59-49 loss to Milford at Lakota West, the Lancers’ fourth consecutive defeat, with senior Nathan Vogelpohl leading the Lancers with 18 points in his final game. St. Xavier (10-13) – which defeated Princeton, 44-42, on a last-second shot on December 4 during the regular season, fell to the Vikings by two points this time, 57-55, at Hamilton. Junior Hank Thomas led the Bombers with 18 points and seven rebounds, while senior Nathan Stockman added 12 points. The Bombers closed the season by losing five of their final six games.
Elder (12-10), the fourth GCL South team, is back on the court tonight when the Panthers – who have won two straight and six of the last seven games – face neighborhood rival Oak Hills (16-6), winner of six straight games, for the second time this season. Tipoff of the district semifinal game is 6 p.m. at Hamilton High School. Elder defeated Oak Hills, 45-31, on January 22 at The Pit in Price Hill. Senior guard Aidan Byrne led the Panthers with 14 points in the game. The winner advances to the district final against either Hamilton or Sycamore, which play in the other district semifinal at West tonight.
Moeller (23-0) – the No. 1 seed in the Cincinnati-area sectional of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ State Basketball Tournament – advances to meet Colerain (10-13) at 7 p.m. Friday at Fairfield High School. Against Talawanda (1-22), Moeller was led by sophomores Logan Duncomb and Alex Williams, both named second team All-GCL South this season, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The pair combined to connect on 8-of-10 field goals, while senior guard Miles McBride – who has signed with West Virginia University – added nine points and four assists.
Colerain has won four straight games, including the last three by a combined six points. The Cardinals advanced to the district semifinals with a 51-48 win against Western Hills Tuesday at Fairfield. Colerain’s only game against the GCL South came on January 5, when the Cardinals hosted and lost to neighborhood rival La Salle, 63-55.