Busy Tourney Saturday Ahead For GCL South Teams

Posted on 3/5/2021 at 7:53 a.m.

League Members Comprise Half of Southwest District Final Field
Greater Catholic League South Division basketball will be on full display Saturday, when all four league members take the court to compete in three of the four Southwest District finals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament.
The GCL South, which ended the regular season with three of its teams – St. Xavier (2), Moeller (3) and Elder (5) ranked in the final Associated Press Division I state rankings – have certainly backed its reputation up in the postseason.  The league teams are a perfect 11-0 to date in the tournament, and the GCL South is guaranteed at least one entry in the regional and could have as many as three of its members in the four-team regional field.
Elder (19-3), which has won four straight and 12 of 14, faces rival La Salle (11-12), which defeated Lakota East in the semifinals, 58-44, for the third time this season at 2 p.m. at Lakota West High School.  The previous two meetings both went to Elder, by a combined seven points with both games going into overtime.  The latest meeting was a 58-56 win by Elder at The Pit in Price Hill on the final night of the regular season, earning the Panthers a share of the GCL South title with Moeller and St. Xavier.
Moeller (18-4), the two-time defending state champion, puts its 24-game postseason winning streak on the line when it faces Miamisburg (17-7) in its district final at 5 p.m. at Centerville High School.  The Crusaders were just two wins away from a three-peat last March when COVID-19 forced OHSAA officials to cancel the remainder of the state tournament.
After having its first two scheduled games  declared a no contest according to the official tournament brackets on the OHSAA website, Moeller opened postseason play with a 51-22 win against Middletown last Saturday in the semifinals.  Moeller is also unbeaten in the district since 2013.  The Crusaders are vying for their eighth straight district championship.
St. Xavier (18-2), arguably the hottest team in the GCL South entering the postseason, has been just as impressive in the tournament as the regular season.  The Bombers – who have won nine games in a row – are a perfect 14-0 against non-league competition, with one of those wins a 62-59 triumph against its district final Huber Heights Wayne (17-4) on January 31 at St. Xavier.  The rematch is set for 7:30 at Centerville, with the regional semifinal berth on the line.
The fourth district final, and the only one not involving a GCL South team, should be a good one as well.  Centerville (21-3), which won a share of the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship and is on an 11-game winning streak, meets perennial Greater Miami Conference contender Mason (18-5), winner of six consecutive games, in the second final at Lakota West. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. at Lakota West.

Moeller Completes GCL South Sweep In District Semis

Posted on 2/28/2021 at 2:13 p.m.

Stingy Crusaders Extend Postseason Winning Streak To 24 Games

One day after Elder, La Salle and St. Xavier posted double-digit victories in their respective district semifinal games in the Ohio  High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament, two-time defending state champion Moeller completed the Greater Catholic League South Division sweep with a 51-22 victory against Middletown on Saturday night at Lakota West High School.

Moeller (18-4), playing its first game in 15 days and making its postseason debut on the court after advancing to the district semifinals with two wins listed as “no contests” on the official tournament brackets posted on the OHSAA website, advanced by shooting 55 percent from the field and holding the opposition to single digits in each quarter.

As a result, the Crusaders will meet Miamisburg (17-7) in a district final Saturday at a site and time to be determined by the OHSAA.  Miamisburg advanced with an 83-49 win against Springfield in its district semifinal Friday at Centerville.  Elder, La Salle and St. Xavier also will play in the district finals that same day, with the league posting a combined 11-0 record in the tournament to date. The four GCL South teams are now 54-9 against non-league competition this season.

Despite the lengthy layoff, Moeller wasted little time against Middletown (9-13) – jumping out to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and then outscoring the Middies, 20-5, in the second eight minutes to take a 33-9 halftime advantage.  Senior Aiden Noyes led the Crusaders with 17 points, hitting 7-of-9 shots and 2-of-3 from three-point range .  Senior Alex Williams added 14 points to go along with six rebounds, four steals and three assists.  Senior Aidan Turner chipped in 11 points as Moeller knocked down 18-of-33 shots.

All four GCL South teams will be in action Saturday, with Elder and La Salle meeting for a third time in one district final.  Elder won both regular-season meetings by a combined total of seven points, with both games going to overtime.  St. Xavier gets a rematch with Huber Heights Wayne, which the Bombers defeated,  62-59, in late January at St. Xavier. 

GCL South A Perfect 3-For-3 In District Hoop Semifinals

Posted on 2/27/2021 at 2:10 p.m.

Moeller Looks To Join Rest Of League In District Finals Tonight
It was a perfect Friday night for the Greater Catholic League South Division teams in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament, as Elder, La Salle and St. Xavier all posted impressive double-digit victories against strong competition in their respective district semifinal games to advance to the district final and move to within one win of earning a berth in the regional.
Tonight, Moeller looks to become the fourth and final GCL South team to advance to the district final when the Crusaders – winners of the last two Division I state championships and holder of a 23-game postseason winning streak – meet Middletown in the district semifinals.  Tipoff is7 at Lakota West High School.  This will actually be Moeller’s first tournament game, as its previous two scheduled were officially declared no contests on the OHSAA tournament brackets.
Friday’s three victories give the GCL South an 8-0 record on the court (and officially 10-0 overall) in the postseason, and improve the league to 53-9 overall this season against non-league opponents. St. Xavier is still undefeated out of the GCL South, taking a 14-0 mark into the district final.
Here is a look at Friday’s GCL South games:
St. Xavier 64, Turpin 49 – The Bombers, ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press DI state poll, shot nearly 60 percent from the field and had three players score 14 or more points to extend their winning streak to nine games with a victory at West Clermont High School.  The victory sets up a rematch with a talented Huber Heights Wayne in the district final next Saturday at a site and time to be announced.  Wayne knocked off Lebanon, 68-46, in the semifinals last night at Centerville. The Bombers defeated Wayne, 62-59, on January 30 at St. Xavier.  Wayne was ranked No. 6 in the state poll at that time.
Junior Louie Semona led St. Xavier (18-2) against Turpin with 15 points, including three three-point goals and six rebounds, while seniors Kobe Rodgers and Joe Kirby each added 14 to help the Bombers take a six-point lead after one quarter and extend the advantage to 33-23 at halftime.
St. Xavier, which knocked down 20-of-34 shots from the field and then converted 18-of-25 free throws avenged one of the rare non-conference losses for a GCL South team this season.  Turpin (14-8) got a last-second basket from senior guard Dominic Cantrella to post a 52-50 win against Elder at The Pit back on January 2.  It was the Panthers’ only loss to a team outside the league during the regular season.
Elder 64, Hamilton 51 – The Panthers recorded their third consecutive double-digit win in the postseason, benefiting from their usual balanced scoring with three players in double figures in a game played Lakota West.  Senior David Larkins led Elder, which has won four straight overall and 12 of its last 14, with 16 points.  Larkins, who will play college football at Appalachian State University, was named second team All-GCL South in basketball.
As a result of its win, Elder will have to do something that no coach ever likes – beat a team for the third time in a season.  The Panthers will oppose league rival La Salle in the district final next Saturday at a site and time to be announced.  Elder beat La Salle twice during the regular season by a combined seven points, with both games going into overtime.
Against Hamilton (16-6), Elder nailed 11-of-18 shots in the first half and wound up 26-of-38 for the game.  Guards JT Miller finished with 11 points, while Sean Keller added 10.  Larkins was 6-of-8 in field goals, with Keller and Miller each knocking down 4-of-6 field goals.  Elder was a strong 7-of-12 from three-point range.  Larkins also finished with three blocked shots.
La Salle 58, Lakota East 44 – The Lancers used a big night from senior guard Kevin Crigler, who made 8-of-10 field goals and all three free throws to finish with a game-high 19 points, and broke open a close game by outscoring Lakota East, 23-13, in the final eight minutes behind a 21-6 run at one point and clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to seal the victory at West Clermont.  East led 38-37 with 5:30 remaining before the Lancers went on their winning run.
East (16-6) had won six straight tournament games after advancing to the regional final a year ago before COVID-19 forced OHSAA officials to cancel the remainder of the tournament.  Ironically, East defeated La Salle in the regional semifinals last March, 44-35, in their last game.  La Salle also was eliminated from postseason play by East two years earlier.
La Salle (11-12), which is now 11-6 outside the GCL South, also got 13 points and 11 rebounds (his second straight double-double) from senior Justin Lovette – who made 7-of-9 free throws as the Lancers sank 13-of-17 as a team.  DeAgo Brumfield, JJ Ruffin and Ayden Schneider each added seven points for La Salle, which earns a chance to face Elder for a third time.  The Lancers lost 61-56 at La Salle on January 22, and then fell 58-56 at Elder on the last night of the regular season, a game the Panthers had to win to earn a share of the league title with Moeller and St. Xavier.

St. Xavier Extends Streak, Advances To Final

Posted on 2/25/2021 at 6:06 p.m.

GCL South Four Teams Still Undefeated In Postseason Basketball

St. Xavier, the hottest team down the stretch in the Greater Catholic League South Division, continued its strong play Wednesday night – outscoring Colerain, 17-2, in the second quarter to build a 24-point halftime lead and post a 75-40 victory in the second round of Southwest District Sectional / District bracket in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament.

The victory was the eighth straight for St. Xavier (17-2), which is now 13-0 against non-league competition and advances to the sectional semifinals and a matchup with Turpin (14-7) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at West Clermont.  Turpin got past Oak Hills, 28-21, in overtime in the second game last night.  Turpin finished tied for first in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference at 12-2 this season, and is the only non-GCL South team to defeat Elder, winning 52-50 on a last-second shot at The Pit.

But St. Xavier will bring plenty of momentum into the game.  Against Colerain, the Bombers knocked down 12 three-points shots, converted 31-of-60 field goals and got plenty of scoring help from its bench, which contributed 31 points.  Junior Louie Semona led St. Xavier with 15 points, while senior guards Joe Kirby and Kobe Rodgers added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

The GCL South teams are now a perfect 5-0 in the postseason and a combined 39-3 against non-league opponents this season.  Elder (18-3), which has won its two tournament games by a combined total of 65 points, will oppose Hamilton at 7 p.m. Friday at Fairfield in its sectional semifinal.  The Panthers have won three straight and 11 of 13.   Moeller (15-4), which has advanced after its first two tournament games were officially declared a no contest, will meet the winner of tonight’s Middletown-Mt. Healthy matchup at 7 Saturday night at Lakota West.

And La Salle (10-12), which defeated Western Hills, 69-63, in its second-round game Tuesday, will now be tested by Lakota East – a perennial tournament contender – at 5 p.m. Friday at West Clermont.  East made it to the regional final last season, awaiting a meeting with two-time defending state champion Moeller before CVID-19 forced OHSAA officials to cancel the rest of the state tournament.  Moeller has won 21 straight postseason games.

Elder, La Salle Advance In Postseason Hoops Tourney

Posted on 2/24/2021 at 12:10 p.m.

St. Xavier Looks To Extend Streak, Take Next Step In Sectional
Elder and La Salle kept the Greater Catholic League South Division perfect in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Basketball Tournament, both posting victories Tuesday night in their respective Southwest Sectional / District brackets.  Elder advanced with its second straight convincing postseason win, knocking off Winton Woods, 70-37, at Fairfield High School.  La Salle, which had a first-round bye, moved on with a 69-63 victory against Western Hills at Lakota West.
St. Xavier looks to do the same tonight, when the Bombers face Colerain in the Southwest 4 bracket.  Tipoff is 5 p.m. at West Clermont.  Moeller, the fourth GCL South team, has already advanced to Saturday’s Southwest 3 semifinals against the winner of Thursday’s game between Middletown and Mt. Healthy.  The Crusaders, who won the last two Division I state championships, have won 21 consecutive postseason games.
Elder (18-3), which has won three straight games and 11 of its last 13, was led by junior guard Andrew Harp – who scored a team-high 16 points and knocked down all five of his three-point attempts.  Sophomore Carson Browne added 11 points and five rebounds, while sophomore Sam Whitmer scored eight and was 3-of-3 in free throws. Seniors JT Miller and Michael Keehan each added seven points and three assists.
The Panthers will oppose Hamilton (6-16) in the Southwest 2 semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lakota West.  Hamilton advanced with a 74-64 victory against fellow Greater Miami Conference member Princeton last night in the second game at Fairfield.
La Salle seniors Justin Lovette and Ayden Schneider were both named first team All-GCL South, and they certainly lived up to that recognition against Western Hills.  Both posted double-double’s to lead the Lancers, with Lovette scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while Schneider had 23 points and a team-best 13 rebounds.  La Salle jumped out to a 13-7 lead after one quarter and extended it to 30-18 at halftime, then held off a second-half charge by the Mustangs to earn the win.
The Lancers (10-12), who are 10-6 against non-GCL South opponents, will now face Lakota East – which finished second in the GMC – in the Southwest 2 other semifinal.  The Thunderhawks (16-5), who advanced to the regional final and were slated to face Moeller last March before COVID-19 forced OHSAA officials to cancel the remainder of the tournament, advanced with a 48-10 win over Milford last night at West Clermont.