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Posted on 3/24/2019 at 2:01 p.m.

Crusaders Cap Historic Season With Second Straight Hoops Crown

Moeller was in an uncharacteristic position late in the third quarter of Saturday’s Division I state championship game of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball State Tournament in Columbus.  The undefeated Crusaders, who had won 27 of their previous 29 games this season by double digits, trailed Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 27-22, in the third quarter – normally a time Moeller had grown accustomed to stretching a sizeable lead and putting the game away before the final eight minutes.

But, faced with second-half adversity on this night, Moeller seniors Miles McBride and Alec Pfriem weren’t about to let history and perfection slip away in their final high school game.  The senior duo combined to score all nine points during a late run to give Moeller a 31-30 heading into the final eight minutes, and then teamed up for 11 more points in the fourth quarter – with Pfriem’s layup with 7:21 remaining giving the Crusaders the lead for good at 33-32 – and enable Moeller to go on and defeat St. Vincent-St. Mary, 52-44, before a crowd of 8,675 at the Jerome C. Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus.

The victory earned Moeller its second straight DI state championship and fifth basketball title overall (also winning in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2018).  In the process, Moeller became the first DI state champion to record an undefeated season since Zanesville went 26-0 in 1995.  The Crusaders are the first Greater Cincinnati school to go unbeaten and win the big-school state crown since Hamilton Taft finished 27-0 and captured the Class AA state title in 1962; Moeller is the first Southwest District team to accomplish that same feat since Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, a member of the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division today, won the Class AA state crown going 27-0 back in 1970.

And, Moeller is the first Cincinnati team to win back-to-back big-school state titles since GCL South Division colleague Elder won the 1973 and 1974 Class AAA state titles.

The victory also caps an amazing three-year run for this talented group of seniors – which posted an 84-4 record during that time and missed winning a third state title by one point, with the Crusaders’ last loss to an Ohio team coming on March 25, 2017, in the state final as Moeller suffered its only loss that season to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish 28-1.  Moeller rebounded last season to go 27-3, winning its eight postseason game by an average of 20 points, including an 83-65 win against Solon in the state title game.  Moeller’s average margin of victory this season was 25.4 points.

The Crusaders, too, have now won 49 consecutive games dating back to December 27, 2017.  The last team to defeat Moeller was Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, which recorded a 47-43 win against the Crusaders as part of the prestigious Beach Ball Classic over the holidays that year in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

McBride, a West Virginia University commit, certainly is leaving a legacy at Moeller.  Named first team DI All-Ohio last week after earlier being selected both the GCL South Player and Defensive Player of the Year by league coaches, Moeller’s record is 57-1 with McBride on the court.  He played only two games last season, victories in the state semifinals and final, after missing almost the entire season while recovering from a foot injury he suffered while playing quarterback that fall for the Crusaders’ football team.  He finished with 16, points, six rebounds and three assists in Saturday’s final.

Pfriem, named third team All-Ohio and first team All-GCL South, is a perfect 2-for-2 in state final appearances at Moeller and made his fourth consecutive trip to the state title game, having gone there with Roger Bacon the previous two seasons before transferring to Moeller.  Pfriem, the GCL South leading scorer this season, led Moeller with a team-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists.  Senior Michael Shipp added nine points – including two three-point goals – in his final prep game, while sophomore Alex Williams had six off the bench.

Williams, who has provided instant offense and a spark for Moeller all season in his role, was coming off three straight double-figure performances.  He led Moeller in the regional semifinals and final with 13 and 16 points in wins against Lakota East and Centerville, respectively, and then added 12 in Moeller’s 72-52 victory against Lakewood St. Edward in the state semifinals Friday night.

Give credit to SV-SM, Lebron James’ alma mater, for giving Moeller a stern test.  The Fighting Irish, making their fourth straight appearance in the state final after having won the last two DII state crowns, lost to Moeller, 99-62, in early December on the road.  Before the game even tipped off, SV-SM had to deal with its bus breaking down during the three-plus hour trek to Greater Cincinnati from Akron.  It’s team then had to deal with Pfriem (22) and McBride (20), who combined to score 42 points in the Crusaders’ dominating victory that day.

This time, after Moeller had gone 15-of-19 from the field one day earlier to hold a 13-point halftime lead, the Crusaders trailed 11-8 after one quarter, managed only 17 points in the first half and were tied, 17-17, at the break.  The Crusaders led St. Edward, 38-25, at halftime one day earlier.  SV-SM, which was forced to move up to DI before this year because of the OHSAA’s competitive balance alignment, actually held the lead in the game four more minutes than Moeller, stayed right with the Crusaders until McBride and Pfriem got going in the final 10-plus minutes – finishing a combined 14-of-25 from the field in the game.

The Fighting Irish were led by sophomore guard Sean Wilson, who finished with 19 points including three three-pointers.  The two schools are scheduled to meet next season in Akron on Saturday, December 7.

The GCLS basketball history has been updated to include the 2018-2019 season. Individual career statistics by category, all league selections, league standings by season, school wins, coaches’ wins as well as district and state championships are included. Find this outstanding collection of stats on the boys basketball page (winter>basketball>history). 

Posted on 3/23/2019 at 10:24 a.m.

Crusaders Advance To State Title Game For Third Straight Year

Moeller basketball coach Carl Kremer thought this year’s team would be good, but even the veteran Crusaders’ leader said he never could have envisioned this year’s team being as good as it has been all season.  And, after shooting 78.9 percent from the field (15-of-19) in the first half against a talented and state tournament savvy Lakewood St. Edward in a convincing 72-52 victory early Friday evening in the Division I state semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball State Tournament at the Jerome c. Schottenstein Center in Columbus, the Crusaders are one win away from the school’s first perfect season and a successful defense of the state championship.

Senior Alec Pfriem recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, senior Miles McBride added 13 points, sophomore Alex Williams came off the bench to score 12, and junior Max Land chipped in 11 points and five rebounds to help Moeller cruise past the 11-time state semifinalist making its fifth appearance in the DI Final Four in the last eight seasons.   Moeller, which has won 26 of its 28 games by double figures this season, last suffered a defeat to an Ohio team in the 2016-17 final, 39-38, to Massillon Jackson, a loss that prevented Moeller from perfection that season.  The Crusaders won the title last year with a 83-65 win against Solon.

Moeller (28-0) will attempt to win its fifth basketball state title (also having won in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2018) when it meets Akron St. Vince-St. Mary (24-3) in the state final at 8:30 tonight at OSU.  The Crusaders defeated St. Vincent-St. Mary, 99-62, at Moeller way back on December 9, but this is not the same team that faced Moeller on that late Saturday afternoon after having its bus break down on the way to Greeter Cincinnati.  Pfriem scored 22 points, while McBride added 20 in the victory.

The Crusaders are attempting to become the first Greater Cincinnati big-school team to finish undefeated since Hamilton Taft went 27-0 and won the Class AA state title in 1962.  Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, a Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division member, is the last team from Southwest Ohio to end a season without a loss – going 27-0 at the Class AA level to win the 1970 state crown.  Zanesville is the last team in the state to finish unblemished, capturing the DI state crown in 1995 with a 26-0 record.  Moeller, which wound up 28-1 in 2016-17, is a combined 83-4 the last three seasons.

St. Vincent-St. Mary, the alma mater of NBA star Lebron James, beat Olentangy Liberty, 58-49, in Friday’s second semifinal.  The Fighting Irish have not lost since February 2, a 75-72 setback to Kennedy Catholic from Heritage, Pa.  GCL  Co-Ed member Roger Bacon staged one of the most memorable victories in an Ohio state final back in 2002, when the Spartans beat the James-led SV-SM in the DII state final, 71-63,  before a then state-tournament record crowd of 18,375 at The Ohio State University.  The Fighting Irish had been 75-0 against Ohio teams before that game, in which a junior James scored a game-high 32 points.

In St. Edward (19-8), the DI state football champion and one of the hottest teams in the state tournament having won seven straight and eight of its last nine, Moeller did what has been a trademark all season – getting off to an insurmountable fast start.  McBride, the West Virginia University signee who was named first team All-Ohio earlier in the week, scored nine of his points in the first quarter (finishing a perfect 5-of-5 from the field) as Moeller hit 7-of-8 field goals in the quarter before going 8-of-11 in the second eight minutes to take a 38-25 lead at intermission.  An 8-0 run that sparked a 17-6 stretch over the two quarters that put Moeller in front for good.

The Crusaders finished by connecting on 26-of-39 shots (66.7percent) for the game, including 5-of-11 from three-point range and 15-of-19 in free throws.  Pfriem, the GCL South Division leading scorer averaging 15 points and a third team All-Ohio selection heading to Bellarmine University, also added five assists.  Williams, who scored 13 points in the Crusaders’ 47-33 win against Lakota East in the regional semifinals and then poured in 16 in a 59-41 victory over Centerville in the regional final, both team highs, made the most of his 19 minutes – finishing with a dozen.

Moeller, which outscored St. Edward, 21-0, in bench points and had nearly half of its points, 34, in the paint, will now attempt to become the first Cincinnati big-school team to win back-to-back state titles since GCL South colleague Elder did it in 1973 and 1974, when earning consecutive Class AAA state crowns.  No Cincinnati-area team has won two straight at the DI level.  Juniors Devontae Blanton and Grant Huffman led St. Edward with 15 points each, while  senior Demetrius Terry and Montorie Foster each add 12.

Posted on 3/20/2019 at 6:43 p.m.

Teammate Pfriem Named To Third Team By Statewide Media

Moeller senior guard Miles McBride, who has helped guide the Crusaders to a perfect 27-0 record entering Friday’s state semifinals in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball State Tournament, has been named to the Division I All-Ohio boys’ basketball first team that was announced Wednesday in Columbus by a statewide media panel.  The team was selected by member of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.

McBride, who averages 14.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and a Greater Catholic League South Division-leading 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals, was named to the first team, while teammate and Crusaders’ senior Alec Pfriem was named to the third team.  Pfriem leads the Greater Catholic League South Division in scoring, averaging 15.0 points per game.  He also averages 3.4 assists and 6.3 rebounds to rank second and third in those categories, respectively, in the league.

The Moeller duo will lead their team against Lakewood St. Edward in the DI Final Four at 6 p.m. Friday at the Jerome C. Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus. Olentangy Liberty faces Akron St. Vince-St. Mary in the second semifinal, at 8.  The DI state final is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.   Moeller currently owns a 47-game winning streak dating back to December 2017.  The Crusaders are the defending DI state champions and own a 82-4 record the last three seasons.

McBride has signed to play at West Virginia University, while Pfriem is a Bellarmine University recruit.  Lakota East senior Bash Wieland is the only other Grater Cincinnati player named to the DI teams, earning special mention.   Wieland plans to join Pfriem at Bellarmine this coming season.

2019 DIVISION I BOYS BASKETBALL ALL-OHIO

FIRST TEAM
Ben Roderick, Powell Olentangy Liberty, 6-foot-5, sr., 25.9 points per game; VonCameron Davis, Columbus Walnut Ridge, 6-5, jr., 27.5; Devon Grant, Lorain, 6-0, sr., 26.1; Kaleb Martin, Green, 5-9, sr., 19.4; Samari Curtis, Xenia, 6-4, sr., 34.4; Bo Myers, Logan, 6-5, sr., 27.4; Miles McBride, Moeller, 6-2, sr., 14.1; Andre Gordon, Sidney, 6-2, sr., 22.6; Alek West, Sylvania Northview, 6-4, sr., 20.2; Andre Harris, Lyndhurst Brush, 6-3, sr., 17.0.

SECOND TEAM
Kyle Goessler, Brunswick, 6-2, sr., 22.4; Javohn Garcia, Pickerington Central, 6-3, sr., 20.1; Luke Floriea, Mentor, 5-10, jr., 19.1; Lunden McDay, Akron St, Vincent-St. Mary, 6-3, sr., 16.5; Ra'Heim Moss, Springfield, 6-4, sr., 18.0; Michael Kreill, Vandalia Butler, 6-1, sr., 15.3; Jack Sawyer, Pickerington North, 6-5, soph., 22.2; Josiah Fulcher, Lima Senior, 6-1, jr., 17.1; Eddie Colbert, Toledo Whitmer, 6-6, sr., 20.1; Kade Ruegsegger, Dover, 6-3, jr., 16.2.

THIRD TEAM
Samuel Emich, Copley, 6-6, sr., 16.8; Sencire Harris, North Canton Hoover, 6-4, fr., 20.4; Matt Allocco, Hilliard Bradley, 6-4, jr., 16.3; Dominiq Penn, Dublin Coffman, 6-0, jr., 19.9; Sean Marks, Lewis Center Olentangy, 5-10, sr., 19.8, 6-2, sr., 14.1; Alec Pfriem, Cincinnati Moeller, 6-4, sr., 15.0; Jackie Harris, Toledo St. Francis, 6-7, sr., 21.8; Taevon Pierre-Louis, Lorain, 6-6, sr., 18.0; Eric Hanna, Olmsted Falls, 6-0, sr., 18.8; Anthony Mazzeo, Massillon Jackson, 6-3, sr., 17.1.

SPECIAL MENTION
Brady Snyder, Canal Winchester; Max Martz, Upper Arlington; Jeremiah Keene, Westerville North; N’Keeley Elmore, Columbus Northland; Bryson Lane, Olentangy Orange; Jordan McMillian, Westerville South; D.J. Dial, Lyndhurst Brush; John Hugley, Lyndhurst Brush; Keaton Williams, Dresden Tri Valley; Ian Sexton, Dover; Jake Maranville, Uniontown Lake; Derrick Anderson, Youngstown Boardman; Julian Jackson, Massillon Perry; Todd Simons, Austintown Fitch; Jayvon Maughmer, Chillicothe; Bash Wieland, Liberty Township Lakota East; Garrett Denbow, Ashland; Devin Williams, Toledo Start.

HONORABLE MENTION
Garvin Clarke, Euclid; Kenny Ganley, Brecksville-Broadview Heights; D.J. Harrell, Cleveland East Tech; Dakota Cochran, Shaker Heights; Mike Bekelja; Damion Williams, Willoughby South; Chad Rogers, Mentor; Jordan Soyars, Barberton; D.J. Jones, Copley; Evan Bainbridge, Stow-Munroe Falls; Matt Salopek, Akron Hoban; Jarmond Hogg, Akron Ellet; Kobe Johnson, Canton McKinley; Will Hyde, Massillon Jackson; Christian Parker, Canton GlenOak; Brett Martin, Massillon Washington; Dom McGhee, Warren Harding; 
Caleb Bell, Logan; Brandon Noel, Chillicothe; Jacob Drees, Hilliard Davidson;Ryan Hall, Kettering Fairmont; Ronnie Hampton, Huber Heights Wayne; D'Marco Howard, Hamilton; Max Land, Cincinnati Moeller; Landen Long, Mason; Shaunn Monroe, Fairborn; Mo Njie, Centerville; Tehree Horn, Sylvania Southview; Isaac Elsasser, Bowling Green; Ryan Nunn, Findlay; Max Denman, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne; DaSean Nelson, Toledo Rogers; Sam Clear, Sylvania Northview.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Samari Curtis, Xenia

COACH OF THE YEAR
Bob Krizancic, Mentor

Posted on 3/17/2019 at 8:40 p.m.

Williams, Land, McBride Key Win Over Centerville, Extend Streak

For the second straight game, sophomore Alex Williams came off the bench to provide a spark, scoring a game-high 16 points while teammates Max Land and Miles McBride combined to score 28 points, grab 11 rebounds and sink all nine of their free-throw attempts to lead Moeller to a 59-41 victory against Centerville and win a third straight Cincinnati Division I regional championship in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball State Tournament on Saturday night at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.

The victory sends the defending Division I state champions back to the Final Four in Columbus and a matchup with Cleveland region winner Lakewood St. Edward in the state semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at the Jerome C. Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus.

Moeller, which has now won 14 straight postseason games and 47 games in a row overall dating back to late December 2017, last lost to an Ohio team on March 25, 2017 when the Crusaders fell to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, in the DI title game – the only setback that season.  Moeller came back last season to defeat Solon, 83-65, in the state final and win the fourth state basketball championship in school history.

St. Edward (18-8) advanced with a  win against Green last night at Cleveland State University to win the Cleveland regional and advance to the Final Four.  Powell Olentangy Liberty (24-4), the Columbus winner, will face Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (23-3), the Akron/Toledo region winner, in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday.  Olentangy Liberty advanced with a 64-58 win over Pickerington North at Ohio Dominican University, while St. Vincent-St. Mary defeated Lima Senior, 79-63, in its regional final at the University of Akron.

The DI state final is 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

In Columbus, Moeller and Purcell Marian will attempt to make it 3-for-4 for the Greater Catholic League at the state basketball tournament.  Mount Notre Dame – a member of the Girls’ GCL - capped off another outstanding season by using a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to blow open a close game and post a 52-31 victory against defending state champion Pickerington Central Saturday night at OSU and win the big-school state title for the second time in three years and seventh time in program  history – tying two other schools for the most state championships in girls’ basketball history.  Mt. Notre Dame finished the season with a 27-2 record.

Moeller, which competes in the all-boys’ GCL South, will be joined at state by Purcell Marian from the GCL Co-Ed Division.  The Cavaliers, making their first Final Four appearance since 2000 – advanced with a 67-56 win over Anna in a Division III regional final at Trent Arena in Kettering.  Purcell Marian (24-4) will oppose Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (26-2) at OSU at noon Thursday in the state semifinals.  Harvest Prep beat Wheelersburg, 52-38, yesterday at Ohio University to win the Athens regional.  The DIII title game is 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

Purcell Marian’s last trek to state was in 2000.  The Cavaliers won the Class AAA state crown in 1985, a season in which they were picked to finish last in the GCL (which had no divisions at the time) and wound up finishing 24-3, winning their final 14 games, under coach Jim Stoll.  The Cavaliers defeated Mansfield Senior, 66-57, in the state final behind 33 points from Dave Minor – who went on to play at Indiana University and was a member of the Hoosiers’ 1987 national championship team.

Against Centerville, Moeller held a 13-11 lead after one quarter.  The Crusaders then came alive to outscore the Elks, who were riding an 18-game winning streak entering the game, 14-8 and 13-7 in the second and third quarters, respectively, to build their advantage to 40-26 entering the final eight minutes.  Moeller, which has shot free throws well all season, was able to ice the game by connecting on 12-of-15 from the line.

Besides going a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, Williams also played solid defense on Centerville’s 6-foot-9 junior Mo Njie – who was coming off a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocked shots in the Elks’ 67-63 victory against Springfield in Wednesday’s regional semifinals.  Njie had two points, four rebounds and five blocks against the tough Moeller defense, which held the Elks to 15-of-41 shooting from the field for 36.6 percent.  Centerville hurt itself by converting just 6-of-15 free throws for 40 percent.  Moeller also outrebounded the Elks, 31-20.

Land, who played outstanding defense against Lakota East standout Bash Wieland in the Crusaders’ 47-33 semifinal win Wednesday at XU, was 5-of-9 from the field to finish with 15 points, made all five free throws and grabbed six rebounds.  McBride, a West Virginia University signee, had his usual solid all-around game with 13 points (4-of-4 from the line), to go along with six assists and five rebounds with Mountaineers’ coach Bob Huggins among those on hand to watch Moeller defeat Centerville for the second time this season.  Moeller also won, 54-33, on January 5 at Moeller during the regular season.

Centerville (22-6) wraps up an outstanding season that included tying Springfield at 10-2 to share the Greater Western Ohio Conference Cardinal Division championship.  The Elks faced Moeller without starting guard Ryan Marchal, who was forced to sit out after receiving two technical fouls in the final few minutes of the Elks’ win against Springfield and was suspended.  Marchal is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 9.6 points, and leads the Elks with four assists per game.  Centerville’s only two losses in 2019 are to Moeller.

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