Posted on 03/13/2014 at 11:41am

Senior guard Grant Benzinger scored a game-high 24 points and Moeller used an 11-0 run to close the third quarter en route to a 53-50 victory over Middletown in the Division I Cincinnati Regional Semifinals on Wednesday night at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  The victory moves the top-ranked Crusaders into the regional final against Trotwood-Madison at 7 p.m. Friday at Cintas Center.  The winner of that games advances to the Division I Final Four in Columbus and a state semifinal game at 8:30 Friday, March 21, at The Ohio State University.

Middletown, riding an eight-game winning streak, held a 21-19 lead at halftime and led by one point before Moeller went on its run late in the third quarter.  The Crusaders (24-1), unbeaten in 2014 and ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press Ohio Division I media regular-season poll, also got 11 points and 14 rebounds from senior forward Jack Anton.  Benzinger, a Wright State University signee who didn’t score in Moeller’s district final win over Fairborn Saturday, also connected on all four of the Crusaders’ three-point goals.

Moeller, which has now won 18 straight games, was able to overcome a team-high 19 points from Middletown senior forward Vince Edwards, a Purdue University signee.  Next up for the Crusaders is talent-laden Trotwood-Madison (24-2), ranked No. 5 in the AP state rankings, which got past Huber Heights Wayne, 60-58, in Wednesday’s first semifinal game featuring two members of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.   The Rams have won 11 games in a row, including a 51-50 victory over GCL South member La Salle in the district final last Saturday.

Posted on 03/12/2014 at 2:57pm

Moeller looks to move one step closer to a state basketball championship tonight, when the top-ranked Crusaders face Middletown in the Division I Cincinnati Regional Semifinals at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Tipoff is 8, following the first semifinal matchup between two Dayton schools, Huber Heights Wayne and Trotwood-Madison, at 6:30.

Coach Carl Kremer’s Crusaders (23-1) began and ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer’s Division I coaches poll; Moeller also was No. 1 in the final Associated Press Ohio Division I state rankings at the conclusion of the regular season.  The Crusaders have done nothing to disappoint in the postseason, rolling to double-digit victories in al four games.  Moeller defeated Fairborn, 55-43, in the district final last Saturday at Xavier University behind 22 points from junior Nate Fowler and 14 from junior guard Adam Gigax.

The Crusaders’ lone loss this season came way back on December 26, falling to Providence, Fla., 60-56, in the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Since then, Moeller has reeled off 17 consecutive victories – including a second straight perfect season in the GCL South Division.  Senior guard Grant Benzinger, a Wright State  University recruit, leads the Crusaders in scoring at just under 18 points a game.  However, Benzinger was held without a point in the win against Fairborn, but contributed seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

Middletown is 1-1 against the GCL South this season.  La Salle defeated the Middies, 44-36, in Middletown back in December, but the Middies got past Elder, 54-47, just over a week ago at the Cintas Center to advance to last Saturday’s district final.  The Middies defeated Wilmington, 54-53, in the district final last Saturday on a last-second three-pointer by senior guard Kyle Shouse.

The Middies (19-6), coached by former Ohio State guard Mark Baker, have won eight straight games since a 65-61 loss to Lakota East back on January 31.  Middletown is led by senior forward Vince Edwards, who led the Greater Miami Conference in both scoring (22.1) and rebounding (12.5) this season.  Edwards has signed to play for Purdue University next season.

The winner advances to the Cincinnati regional final at 7 Friday night at the Cintas Center.

Posted on 03/09/2014 at 12:23am

Junior center Nate Fowler scored 22 points and junior guard Adam Gigax chipped in 14 to lead top-ranked Moeller to a 55-43 victory over Fairborn Saturday night at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  The victory, No. 17 in a row for the Crusaders (23-1), moves Moeller – undefeated in 2014 - into the Southwest Ohio Division I Regional Tournament and a matchup with Middletown.  Tipoff is 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Cintas Center.

The Moeller-Middletown matchup should be an entertaining game.  The Middies (19-6) advanced with a thrilling 54-53 win over Wilmington in Saturday’s district tourney, as senior guard Kyle Shouse sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Middletown its eighth straight win.  Senior Vince Edwards, a Purdue University recruit, led Middletown with 20 points, including a three-pointer with 21 seconds left, that tied the game at 51.

La Salle, playing in the district final for the sixth time in seven years, held high-flying Trotwood-Madison almost 40 points below its season-scoring average (88.5 points), but the Rams managed to outscore La Salle, 12-6, in the final minutes for a 51-50 win in the first of four district tournament games held Saturday at Cintas Center.  Trotwood-Madison will meet Huber Heights Wayne in the first regional game at 6:15 Wednesday.

The Lancers (18-6) got a team-high 15 points from freshman guard C.J. Fleming, son of coach Dan Fleming, but were hurt by foul shooting – connecting on 8-of-15 in the game - and an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers.  La Salle had another successful season under Fleming, as the Lancers posted a 16-2 record outside the GCL South - including a 44-36 win at Middletown, Moeller’s next opponent, back on December 17.

Posted on 03/08/2014 at 1:00pm

Moeller and La Salle look to keep their postseason basketball runs alive when they take to the court today in the Southwest Ohio Division I District Tournament at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  La Salle (18-5), winners of three straight, faces Trotwood Madison (21-2), one of the top teams in the state and winner of eight straight, in the first of four games at 1 p.m.  The Lancers defeated Mason, 65-48, in the sectional final to advance.

Moeller (22-1) looks to keep a couple of streaks alive when it meets Fairborn (17-7) at 7 p.m., the third of four games.  The top-ranked Crusaders have won 16 straight games and have yet to lose in 2014 or to a team from Ohio.  Moeller advanced to the district tournament by beating Lakota East, 55-42, in its sectional final last Friday.  Fairborn, like Moeller, has a double-digit winning streak having won its last 10 games.

Tickets to the district tournament are available at the Cintas Center Box Office.  Fairfield meets Huber Heights Wayne in the second game of the afternoon at 3, with Middletown taking on Wilmington in the night’s final game at 9.  Middletown defeated GCL South member Elder, 54-47, in its sectional final last Friday night at the Cintas Center.

Posted on 03/03/2014 at 12:12pm

St. Xavier senior Joe Heyob capped off a perfect season Saturday night in Columbus, winning an overtime decision against Jesse Palser of Mansfield Senior to win the 170-pound state championship at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Individual State Championships at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus.

Heyob’s 3-2 victory in the final seconds of the match made him a perfect 50-0 this season.  In the process, he became only the second wrestler in Bombers’ history to win a state title – Josh Robbins won the 152-pound state crown back in 1991.  Heyob helped St. Xavier finish at No. 12 in the team standings, with 40.5 points.

Moeller – which sent nine wrestlers to the state meet - turned in another solid team performance, finishing in eighth place, with 47.5 points.  La Salle – which had three freshmen earn berths to Columbus - wound up at No. 28, with 17.5 points,  followed by Elder tied at No. 46, with 8.0.

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