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Posted on 2/21/2018 at 7:40 a.m.

AquaBombers Extend District Streak To Amazing Half Century

St. Xavier turned in a record-shattering performance last Saturday at Miami University’s Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center in Oxford, as the AquaBombers finished with a record 649 points as a meet maximum 39 divers and swimmers all scored  for the first time in event history – extending St. Xavier’s streak of consecutive district titles to an astounding 50 years.  Greater Catholic League South Division colleague Moeller finished second, with 188 points, Sycamore third with 171, Mason fourth with 161, and Centerville rounding out the top five schools, with 140.

While St. Xavier has continued its dominance in virtually every meet this season, it was an impressive performance again by Moeller as the Crusaders posted a runner-up finish out of the 27 competing schools.  It was the eighth time Moeller has finished second in the district meet, and marked the seventh straight year that the Crusaders have earned a spot in the top four.  Seven Moeller athletes qualified for the state meet.

The 649 points earned by St. Xavier were just 83 short of a posting a “perfect score,”  as the AquaBombers  swept the relays and picked up victories in six of the eight individual events.   The schools make up what is typically the most dominant district in the state and one of the fastest in the country.  This week, 38 percent of the competitors at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Swimming & Diving State Tournament will be from the Southwest District.  The state meet is Wednesday through Saturday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.  Division I preliminaries and competition begins Friday.

St. Xavier’s 200 medley relay team of Justin Grender, Alex Wade, Jean-Pierre Khouzam and Nicholas Perera established a record by finishing in 1:30.84, surpassing the mark set last year by the AquaBombers’ team.  Grender also set a mark in the 50 freestyle, eclipsing the record of former St. Xavier Olympian Joe Hudepohl that had stood for 26 years.  Grender added a third record in the 100 backstroke, swimming in 47.73 – eclipsing the previous time established last season by AquaBombers’ alum Luke Sobolewski.

Moeller’s individual state qualifiers are J.C. Prugh, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke; Kevin Thibodeaux, 100 breaststroke; Austin Murphy, 100 freestyle; Justin Davidson, 50 freestyle; and Gavin Osterday, diving.

St. Xavier is attempting to extend its state championship run to 10 straight years, and also win state title No. 39 in its storied history.  Last season, senior Grant House won four events to become the winningest swimmer in OHSAA history, bringing his total number of events won at state to 13 in his career (winning eight individual events and swimming as part of five relay champions).  House passed Dod Wales of St. Xavier, who won 12 events from 1992 to 1995.  House also set four records at last year’s meet, when he also won the 200 freestyle and was part of the winning 400 relay team for the fourth year in a row.

House is a freshman this year at Arizona State University.

Posted on 2/21/2018 at 7:39 a.m.

Elder Falls To Springboro In Two OTs In OHSSAA Columbus Bracket

It was a near sweep for the Greater Catholic League South Division last weekend at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I District Tournament being held in Greater Columbus.  Moeller defeated Dublin Coffman, 3-2, and St. Xavier advanced with a 7-2 win against Bishop Watterson.  Both matches were held Sunday afternoon at the Ice Haus, the annex ice rink of Nationwide Arena where the NHL Blue Jackets play their home games.  Elder narrowly missed keeping its state tournament hopes alive, falling to Springboro, 3-2, in double overtime on Saturday night as part of the Columbus district qualifying bracket.

Moeller – the tournament’s No. 4 seed – will now face No. 8 Olentangy in the quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the Ice Haus.  That game will be preceded by No. 12 St. Xavier taking on No. 2 Olentangy Liberty at 4:45.  If both GCL South rivals are victorious, they would meet in the semifinals at 5:45 p.m. Sunday at the Ice Haus.  The district final is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, with a berth in the OHSAA State Tournament on the line.  St. Xavier defeated Moeller, 4-1, in mid-December as part of GCL Night at U.S. Bank Arena in downtown Cincinnati.

Posted on 2/21/2018 at 7:16 a.m.

Unbeaten League Champ Moeller Dominates Selections

All five of Moeller’s starting lineup were named to the All-Greater Catholic League South Division Basketball Teams that were released today, with four of the Crusaders named to the first team – including senior forward Jeremiah Davenport, who was named co-Player of the year, and senior forward Jaxson Hayes, who was named the league’s Defensive Player of the year.  Senior Isaiah Payton and junior Alex Pfriem also were named first team, while senior Carlos Garcia made second team from Moeller – the area’s top-ranked team that finished the regular season 19-3 overall, a perfect 12-0 this calendar year and 6-0 in the GCL South to win its second straight outright title.

Senior Riley Haubner of La Salle, who led the GCL South in scoring this season, was named co-Player of the Year in voting by league coaches.  Moeller’s Carl Kramer, whose team has won or shared the last six GCL South crowns, was named Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a No.  1 ranking in The Enquirer’s Division I final regular season weekly area coaches’ poll.  Moeller is ranked No. 2 behind undefeated Solon in the Associated Press DI poll that was released today.  Moeller, which opens sectional play against Harrison at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton High School, is 46-4 the last two seasons – including a state runner-up finish last year.

Also on the first team are junior Nathan Stockman of St. Xavier, who helped lead the Bombers to a 15-7 overall finish and was the team’s leading scorer at 12.4 points per game – and  senior Chase Wolf, who will attend the University of Wisconsin on a football scholarship this fall.   Stockman was the GCL South leader in steals, averaging 1.9.  Senior Zach Harp of Elder rounds out the first-team selections.  Harp averaged a team-best 14.4 points and also drained 49 three-pointers.  He poured in a season-high 30 in a win over Springboro in December.

Davenport, a Wright State University recruit, ranked among GCL South leaders in four categories – scoring, 15.4 (second); rebounding, 6.3 (second); blocked shots, 1.2 (second); and field-goal percentage, 56.9 (third).  Davenport was a model of consistency, scoring in double figures in all but two games this season.  Hayes – a University of Texas recruit – was a force inside for the Crusaders, leading the league in blocked shots (4.0) and rebounds (6.9), while shooting a GCL South-best 67.3 percent from the field.  He finished fifth in scoring at 12 points a game.

Crusader teammates Isaiah Payton averaged 10.3 points and ranked second in assists, 3.1  Pfriem averaged 7.3 points, but led the GCL south in assists (4.2), was third in rebounding (5.4) and fourth in steals (1.4).  Haubner was the Lancers’ go-to guy all season, scoring in double figures in 20 of 21 games.  He scored 20 or more points 13 times, including a career-high 37 in a 60-53 win against Elder last week.  He also poured in 30 in a loss to Moeller on January 19, and twice had 29 – in the season opener against Shroder and a win against Walnut Hills last month.

Joining Moeller’s Garcia on the second team are sophomore Derek Eddings and senior Henry Louden from La Salle, seniors Brandon Gilvert and Bobby Jefferson from St. Xavier, and seniors Trevor Estep and Brett Marsh from Elder.   Here is a look at the 2017-18 All-GCL South Basketball Teams:

FIRST TEAM
PLAYER, SCHOOL GRADE, HEIGHT
Jeremiah Davenport, Moeller, Senior, 6-5
Zach Harp, Elder, Senior, 6-3
Riley Haubner, La Salle, Senior, 6-2
Jaxson Hayes, Moeller, Senior, 6-10
Isaiah Payton, Moeller, Senior, 5-10
Alex Pfriem, Moeller, Junior, 6-4
Nathan Stockman, St. Xavier, Junior, 6-0
Chase Wolf, St. Xavier, Senior, 6-2

SECOND TEAM
PLAYER, SCHOOL, GRADE, HEIGHT
Derek Eddings, La Salle, Sophomore, 6-0
Trevor Estep, Elder, Senior, 6-2
Carlos Garcia, Moeller, Senior, 6-2
Brandon Gilbert, St. Xavier, Senior, 6-7
Bobby Jefferson, St. Xavier, Senior, 6-3
Henry Louden, La Salle, Senior, 6-2
Brett Marsh, Elder, Senior, 6-2

CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Jeremiah Davenport, Moeller
Riley Haubner, La Salle

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jaxson Hayes, Moeller

COACH OF THE YEAR
Carl Kremer, Moeller

Posted on 2/18/2018 at 9:59 a.m.

Balanced Scoring Leads Bombers Over Woodward In Finale

Junior guard Nathan Stockman scored a team-high 13 points to lead a balanced offense as St. Xavier built a 24-17 halftime lead, extending its advantage to as many as 13 points in the third quarter, to post a 53-45 victory over Woodward in its gymnasium on the final night of regular-season play before the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournaments begin this week across the state.  The win wraps up a 15-7 regular season under third-year coach Jimmy Lallathin for St. Xavier, its best finish since going 14-9 in the 2014-15 season – the Bombers’ last winning season.

Stockman, a junior guard and the Bombers’ leading scorer at 12.5 points per game, was joined in double figures by junior forward Like Pellot – who came off the bench to score 11 – and seniors Brandon Gilbert and Bobby Jefferson, who each chipped in 10 for St. Xavier, which outscored Woodward, 12-0, in bench points.  The Bombers also had 34 points in the paint, 11 steals and 10 assists.  St. Xavier is scheduled to open the postseason by facing Loveland in the opening round of the Cincinnati sectional tournaments Saturday at Lakota West High School.  Tipoff is 8 p.m.

The other three Greater Catholic League South Division members also open sectional play this week.  La Salle (13-9), winner of three straight and five of its last six games, tips off GCL South postseason play against Lakota West at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hamilton High School.  The Lancers defeated West, 64-53, on the road back on December 19 behind a 26-point effort from senior forward Riley Haubner, the league’s leading scorer at 21.3 points per game.  Haubner was 7-of-12 from the field in the first meeting at West, including 3-of-4 from three-point range and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Elder (11-11) is scheduled to oppose Mt. Healthy in a first-round game at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Fairfield High School, when the Panthers attempt to snap a two-game losing streak.  GCL South champion Moeller (19-3), which advanced to the Division I state championship game last season before suffering its only loss of the season, 39-38, to Massillon Jackson, puts a 12-0 record in 2018 on the line when it meets Harrison at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton High School.  Moeller enters tournament play as the No. 1 seed in the Cincinnati sectionals.

Posted on 2/17/2018 at 11:47 a.m.

Moeller Stays Perfect In ’18; La Salle Posts Road Win

In what has become standard fare, Moeller combined balanced scoring, stingy defense and a solid rebounding edge to wrap up a second consecutive unbeaten season in the Greater Catholic League South Division and close the regular season with a convincing 58-32 win against Elder Friday night at The Pit in Price Hill.  The victory keeps the Crusaders a perfect 12-0 in the calendar year and extends their GCL South winning streak to 14 games, dating back to February 2016.  In Friday’s other GCL South game, senior Riley Haubner and sophomore Derek Eddings combined to score half of their team’s points to help La Salle post a 48-35 win against St. Xavier on the road.

Moeller (19-3, 6-0 GCL South) jumped out to a 28-13 lead at halftime, and then outscored Elder, 22-5, in the third period to put the game away.  Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport led the Crusaders with 13 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Isaiah Payton added 11 points, senior forward Carlos Garcia had nine on three three-point goals, and senior Jaxson Hayes scored eight and blocked three shots.  Moeller’s tight defense limited Elder (11-11, 1-5) to 13-of-48 shooting, 27.1 percent, and allowed the Panthers to go just 4-of-17 on three-pointers.  Moeller also outrebounded Elder, 36-24.  Senior guard Trevor Estep was the lone Panther in double figures, with 11.

Coach Carl Kremer’s team, ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly area coaches’ poll and up to No. 2 behind only undefeated Solon (18-0) in this week’s Associated Press DI state rankings, is looking for another lengthy run in the postseason that begins next week.  Last season, Moeller made it unbeaten all the way to the state championship game without a loss before falling to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish 28-1.  The Crusaders have not lost in 2018, the last setback coming at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., against talented Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, 47-44, on December 30.

Haubner and Eddings scored 14 and nine points, respectively, to lead No. 9 La Salle (13-9, 3-3) to its third straight win and help the Lancers earn sole possession of second place in the GCL South.  Haubner made only two field goals, but connected on 10-of-11 free throws.   La Salle knocked down 17-of-22 free throws, while St. Xavier – tied for No. 6 in The Enquirer’s poll  – struggled shooting all night.  The Bombers made only 12-of-47 shots from the field, 25.1 percent, and went 1-of-15 from three-point range.  Senior Brandon Gilbert came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points, while no other Bomber had more than six points.

Gilbert had a solid game, going 6-of-11 from the field and converting 4-of-5 free throws to go along with five rebounds, while senior forward Bobby Jefferson added six points and a team-best seven rebounds for St. Xavier (14-7, 2-4).  After posting an impressive 7-1 record in January, with the lone loss coming at Moeller, the Bombers have dropped three of five games this month.  St. Xavier is the lone GCL South team in action today, the final day of the regular season, traveling to Woodward to face the Bulldogs.  Tipoff is 7:30 this evening.

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