Posted on 3/17/2018 at 11:44 a.m.

Crusaders Defeat Wayne, Advance To DI Hoops Final Four

A year ago, Moeller entered the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball Division I Final Four just wo wins away from an undefeated season and a state championship, taking a 27-0 record into the state semifinals and ultimately coming within a basket of perfection – falling to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, in the championship game to finish as state runner-up with a 28-1 record.  Moeller is headed back to Columbus again next week and, while the Crusaders have suffered three losses this season, coach Carl Kremer’s team is perfect this calendar year and again just two wins away from a state title.

Moeller earned a second straight Final Four berth Friday night, as seniors Jeremiah Davenport and Jaxson Hayes combined to score 41 points and grab 14 rebounds to help Moeller erase a one-point halftime deficit and defeat Huber Heights Wayne, 65-53, in the regional final at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Moeller (25-3), which has won 18 consecutive games, advances to meet either Lorain or Toledo St. John’s Jesuit (which play today in another regional final) in the state semifinals at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, March 23 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

The state championship is 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.

The Crusaders would like nothing better than to bring home the school’s fourth state basketball championship, also having won DI titles in 1999, 2003 and 2007.  And, if its play in the postseason is any indication, Moeller should have a chance of cutting down the nets eight days from now.  In six postseason games, Moeller has outscored the opposition by an average of 24.5 points, winning all by double figures with only Wayne coming closer than 15 points of the Crusaders.  Wayne ended the regular season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press DI state poll, just one spot behind Moeller, and finished with a 25-2 record - its other loss at Springfield, 54-47, back on February 9.

Moeller should be plenty prepared to face the best teams from around Ohio, having played a rigorous schedule and capturing the coveted Greater Catholic League South Division championship with a 6-0 record as it did last season too.  The Crusaders have not lost in 2018, and are also unbeaten against teams from Ohio.  Moeller’s three defeats were all in December, to Covington Catholic – which plays today in the Kentucky state semifinals in Lexington and beat the Crusaders, 58-53, and two nationally regarded schools at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Bach, S.C., in Long Island, N.Y. Lutheran, 57-45, and Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, 47-44.

In the Crusaders’ regional victories against Springfield and Wayne, Moeller has connected on 49-o-79 field goals – including 24-of-42 against Wayne.  The Crusaders, known for their stingy defense and patience on offense, have benefited from balance all season too.  While Davenport and Hayes put up big numbers in the regional final, they received plenty of assistant from junior guard Alec Pfriem – who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.  Senior forward Carlos Garcia added nine points, and senior guard Isaiah Payton had four points, six rebounds and five assists.

Consider, too, that Moeller has played all season without senior guard Miles McBride, who teammates insisted be part of the regional championship photograph following Friday’s victory.  McBride, named first team All-GCL South last year, was a vital part of Moeller’s season a year ago – averaging 10.5 points and ranking among league leaders in assists, steals and field-goal percentage during the regular season.  McBride suffered a season-ending foot injury while playing quarterback for the Crusaders last fall and has not played basketball this season.  He will play collegiately at West Virginia.

Entering the state tournament, Moeller is a combined 53-4 the last two seasons.

Posted on 3/16/2018 at 6:59 a.m.

Crusaders Face Wayne In Regional Final At XU Tonight

A win tonight against Huber Heights Wayne in the regional final of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Basketball Tournament will continue an impressive run for the Moeller Crusaders.  If victorious, Moeller will extend its winning streak to 18 games, remain perfect in the calendar year and, even more critical, earn the program’s second straight tip to Columbus and the OHSAA DI Final Four.  Moeller made it all the way to the state final last March without a loss before suffering its first defeat to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish as state runner-up.

The Grater Catholic League South Division champions find themselves knocking on the door of another trip up Interstate 71 after a convincing 65-44 victory over Springfield in Wednesday’s regional semifinals at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport led Moeller (24-3) with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists to help his team beat Springfield for the second time this season.  Wayne (25-1) kept its near-perfect season alive with a 56-49 win over short-handed Princeton in the second semifinal.  Wayne’s lone setback this season is to Springfield, 54-47, on the road on February 9.  Since then, the Warriors have won seven consecutive games.

Tipoff is 7:30 tonight at the Cintas Center.

The winner advances to the state semifinals on Friday, March 23 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.  Tipoff is 5:15 p.m., with the second semifinal to follow at 8:30.  The DI state final is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

Against Springfield, a team Moeller defeated, 56-39, on the road on February 3, the Crusaders left little doubt – building a 29-16 halftime advantage and extending the gap to 21 points after three quarters.  Joining Davenport in double figures were senior forward Jaxson Hayes, who had 10 points to go along with  seven re bounds and a team-high five blocked shots, and junior guard Alec Priem, who added 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.   Moeller continued its torrid shooting against Springfield, connecting on 25-of-37 from the field for 67.5 percent.

Wayne will present a tough challenge, though.  The Warriors, like Moeller, have spent time this season ranked at the top of the Associated Press DI state poll.   Wayne finished 11-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division, one game ahead of Springfield in the standings.  And the Warriors have played a difficult schedule, with wins over Trotwood-Madison (90-87), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (68-57), as well as Princeton (72-67) during the regular season.  Wayne is led by senior guard Darius Quisenberry, who averages 18 points, 6.3 assists (second in the GWOC), 5.2 rebounds and three steals.

Quisenberry scored 24 points on 10-15 shooting against Princeton, which was playing its second straight game without seniors Darius Bazley and Dominic Pierce, who were suspended two games by the OHSAA for leaving the bench in the Vikings’ earlier postseason win against Sycamore.  Bazley, a Syracuse signee, was recently named the Southwest District Player of the Year after averaging better than 15 points a game, and leading the Greater Miami Conference in rebounds, assists and blocked shots .  Quisenberry has signed to play at Youngstown State, a member of the Horizon League.  Wayne outs cored Princeton, 31-21, in the second half of its semifinal game.

Posted on 3/14/2018 at 8:15 a.m.

GCL  South Division Announces 2017-18 All-League Performers

Three individual state champions from last weekend’s Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Wrestling Championships in Columbus highlight the impressive list of wrestlers comprising the 2017-18 Greater Catholic South Division All-League Teams.  Sharing first-team honors and recognition as the GCL South Wrestlers of the Year are Lucas Byrd of La Salle, state champion at 113 pounds; Antonio McCloud of Elder, state champ at 220; and Moller’s Jake Thompson, a state runner-up at 182 one year earlier who returned to state and won at 195 this time.

State runner-ups Dustin Norris of La Salle (106) and St. Xavier’s Jack Heyob (285) also were named first team in vote by league coaches.  GCL South teams turned in solid performances at the state meet, with La Salle completing a record0-breaking season with seven placers and a No. 4 finish in the final team standings, followed by Elder at No. 6, and Moeller at No. 12.  Byrd became just the second wrestler in La Salle history to win a state title, joining Neal Neyer – who won back in 1976 at 155 pounds.  It also was an incredible finish to an outstanding career for McCloud, who made it to last year’s state tournament but did not place.


(Weight Class, Name, School, Class)
106 pounds – Dustin Norris, La Salle, freshman (state runner-up)
113 – Lucas Byrd, La Salle, junior (state champion)
120 – Antoine Allen, La Salle, sophomore
126 – Casey Wiles, La Salle, freshman
132 – Jordan Ward, Moeller, junior
138 – E’lan Heard, La Salle, sophomore
145 – Chucky Lipps, Elder, senior
152 – Xavier Weathersby, Elder, senior
160 – Austin Murphy, Elder, senior
170 – Sam Wyche, Moeller, senior
182 – Blake Wilson, La Salle, senior
195 – Jake Thompson, Moeller, senior (state champion)
220 – Antonio McCloud, Elder, senior (state champion)
285 – Jack Heyob, St. Xavier, senior (state runner-up)

(Weight Class, Name, School, Class)
106 pounds – Willie Doepker, Elder, sophomore
113 – Dominic Pappalardo, Moeller, freshman
120 – Brayden Zenni, Moeller, freshman
126 – Jack Collins, Elder, sophomore
132 – Darnai Heard, La Salle, freshman
138 – Adam Klaserner, Elder, senior
145 – Vincent Scally, Moeller, sophomore
152 – Lucas Hankins, Moeller, sophomore
160 – Trey Sizemore, La Salle, junior
170 – Austin Belcher, Elder, junior
182 – Charles Sanders, Elder, senior
195 – Michael Baker, La Salle, junior
220 – Garrett Bledsoe, La Salle, junior
285 – Alec-Moore Nash, Elder, senior

Lucas Byrd, La Salle
Antonio McCloud, Elder
Jake Thompson, Moeller

Posted on 3/13/2018 at 7:15 a.m.

Byrd, McCloud, Thompson Win Individual State Titles

It was a good day for Greater Catholic League South Division wrestlers at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Wrestling Championships held Saturday at the Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.  La Salle’s Lucas Byrd, Antonio McCloud of Elder and Moeller’s Jake Thompson each won individual state championships in their respective weight classes to help the three GCL South teams finish among the leaders in the final team standings – with La Salle coming in at No. 4, with 96.5 points; Elder finishing at No. 6, with 64.0; and Moeller claiming the No. 12 spot, with 37.0.  Lakewood St. Edward finished first, totaling at 170.5 points.

Byrd became just the second wrestler in La Salle history to win a state title, earning the championship at 113 pounds with a 4-3 decision over Dylan Shawver of Elyria.  McCloud – a state qualifier last year – became only the fifth wrestler in Elder history to earn a state title, defeating Harrison senior Cameron Sauerwein, 13-3, in the final at 220.   Thompson, who lost his state final match at 182 pounds last March, was back in the title match again at 195 pounds – and this time Thompson was victorious, joining 12 other Moeller wrestlers as individual state champs with a 9-6 win over Dakota Howard from Lakewood St. Edward.  Thompson, who finished 50-2 this season, plans to attend the United States Air Force Academy.

It was a takedown in the last minute of his final match that enabled Byrd to join Neal Neyer as the only state wrestling champs in La Salle’s history.  Neyer won  his individual crown at 155 pounds back in 1976.  The win was extra special for Byrd, a junior who has committed to wrestle at the University of Maryland.  Byrd’s older brother, Max, is a member of the Lancers’ coaching staff after graduating from La Salle in 2012 and placing four times at state.  With the match tied 2-2 late in the third period, Byrd earned the decisive two points for the victory and a 46-4 record this season.

Three other GCL South wrestlers earned runner-up finishes.   La Salle freshman Dustin Norris nearly etched his name in the Lancer wrestling record books before being taken down in the final minute to fall to Fairfield senior Zach Shupp, 3-1, in the final.  It was a state runner-up finish for the Lancers’ ninth-grader, who has been one of his team’s top wrestlers all season.  Elder senior Austin Murphy nearly joined McCloud as a state champion in an exciting match that ended with a 6-4 loss to Jaden Mattox of Grove City Central Crossing at 160 pounds.  And, in the final weight class, senior Jack Heyob of St. Xavier lost a 2-1 decision to Jordan Earnest of Wadsworth at 285.

La Salle turned in a solid performance as a team, with the following placers:  Casey Wiles, third (126 pounds); Antonio Allen, fifth (120); Blake Wilson, fifth (182); Michael Baker, sixth (195); and Trey Sizemore, seventh (160).  William Doepker also placed for Elder, finishing seventh at 106, while Moeller’s Jordan Ward came in sixth at 132.  St. Xavier finished tied at No. 23 in the team standings, with 19 points.

Posted on 3/11/2018 at 11:29 a.m.

Elder Falls to Springfield In DI District Final Saturday Night

Seniors Jeremiah Davenport and Jaxson Hayes combined for more than half of their team’s points,  and Moeller used a big third quarter to break open a close game and eventually emerge with a 65-50 victory over Kettering Fairmont in a Division I district final of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the University of Dayton Arena.  The win keeps the Crusaders perfect in the calendar year, at 16-0, and earns the team a trip to the regional semifinals to face Springfield at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday the Cintas Center on Xavier University’s campus.

Springfield ended the postseason run of Elder, the second Greater Catholic League South Division team trying to advance to the regional tournament, with a 51-45 victory at UD Arena late Saturday.  The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Elder, which had knocked off higher seeds Mason and Winton Woods in its last two games to advance to the district final.  The Panthers finish their season at 14-12.  Senior guard Zach Harp led Elder with 20 points, joining fellow seniors Brett Marsh (12) and Trevor Estep (six) to combine for 38 of the Panthers’ points.

Princeton emerged with a 53-51 win against fellow Greater Miami Conference member Lakota East in the first of the four district finals Saturday.  The Vikings (23-3), winners of 11 straight games, advance to meet Huber Heights Wayne (24-1) in the second regional semifinal Wednesday at Cintas Center, with the tip time scheduled for 8 p.m.  Wayne defeated Oak Hills, 68-54, to remain alive in the postseason, and the Warriors are riding a six-game winning streak after suffering their lone loss this season to Springfield, 54-47, last month.

The regional final is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cintas Center.

Moeller (23-3) is looking for its second straight trip to the DI Final Four, after advancing to the state championship game last March before suffering its first loss , 39-38, to Massillon Jackson.  The Crusaders held a 23-20 halftime edge against Fairmont before outscoring the Firebirds, 23-10, in the third quarter to take control.  Davenport, a Wright State University recruit, finished with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.  He connected on 7-of-10 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws, while senior Jaxson Hayes added 17 points, four rebounds and seven blocked shots.  Hayes, a Texas recruit, was named the GCL South Defensive Player of the Year averaging a league-best four blocks per game.

Crusaders’ junior guard Alex Pfriem played a solid game, scoring 10 points, with five assists, four rebounds and three steals.  Moeller had another sound shooting night, connecting on 22-of-35 field goals for 62.9 percent.  Moeller defeated Springfield, 56-39, on the road February 3, breaking open a close game by outscoring the Wildcats, 21-9, in the fourth quarter.  Davenport led Moeller with 18 points in that game, while Pfriem added 12 and senior Carlos Garcia chipped in 10.  Hayes, saddled with foul trouble, only scored four points before eventually fouling out.

Elder fell behind Springfield, 14-2, to open the game.  But the Panthers battled back from the double-digit deficit to eventually take a 39-38 lead early in the fourth quarter after Harp connected on back-to-back three-pointers.  But Springfield responded to go in front and ultimately emerge with the victory.   Springfield senior guard Michael Wallace finished with a team-high 13 points, including two layups in the final 10 seconds and a pair of key steals to help his team stay alive in the postseason.

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