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Posted on 3/11/2016 at 10:22 a.m.

Crusaders Come Up Just Short, End Season An Impressive 23-4

Moeller’s bid to earn a regional final berth came up just short Wednesday night, as senior forward and University of Cincinnati recruit Jarron Cumberland scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Wilmington to a 40-37 victory over the Greater Catholic League South Division Crusaders in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Regional Basketball Tournament at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. 

Wilmington (26-1), which lost to Moeller, 40-31, in a game that looked very similar back on January 23, advances to meet Centerville (17-10) in the regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cintas Center.  Centerville, which ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, knocked off Lakota East in Wednesday’s first semifinal, 37-36, to earn its fifth straight win in the postseason.

Facing Wilmington for the second straight year in the postseason (Moeller won 46-43 in last year’s district final), coach Carl Kremer’s team put forth its usual sound defensive effort and, in fact, led by two points until Wilmington’s Dylan Beaugard hit a three-pointer with 4:33 remaining to give the Hurricane a 36-35 lead.  Cumberland knocked down two free throws and grabbed a key rebound down the stretch to preserve the win.

Moeller (23-4) was led by 12 points from sophomore guard Isaiah Payton, who stepped into the starting lineup and performed well down the stretch after senior point guard Nate Georgeton suffered a season-ending knee injury in a regular-season loss at Elder back on February 5.  Despite not having their floor leader for the rest of the season, the Crusaders managed to win seven of its final eight games.

Payton was the lone Moeller player to score in double figures this time against Wilmington, with juniors Keegan McDowell and Riley Voss adding eight and seven points, respectively.  Crusaders’ senior guard Trey McBride led his team with five rebounds, while also dishing out four assists.  Senior Sam McCracken added six points and two steals for the Crusaders – who also earned a share of the GCL South championship for the fourth straight year.

Moeller’s four losses this season were to Seton Hall Prep, when the Crusaders scored a season low in points in a 37-33 loss in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. over the holidays; at GCL South tri-champion, district finalist and 21-4 La Salle, 45-39; at GCL South tri-champ, sectional finalist and 19-5 Elder; and Wilmington, which suffered its only defeat so far to the Crusaders.

Posted on 3/9/2016 at 3:32 p.m.  

Crusaders Take Seven-Game Winning Streak Into Tonight’s Semifinals

After Moeller dropped consecutive Greater Catholic League South Division games to Elder and La Salle, and then learned that senior point guard Nate Georgeton would be lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, things weren’t exactly looking up for the Crusaders.  But a strong resolve, stringy defense and a few guys stepping up down the stretch, has the Crusaders two wins away from a regional championship.

Moeller (23-3), which as won seven straight games after the brief two-game league losing streak last month, will attempt to defeat Wilmington (25-1) for the second time this season when the two schools meet in in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Regional Tournament at 8 tonight at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Moeller defeated Wilmington, 40-31, on January 23 at Moeller – the Quakers’ lone loss in 2015-16.

Lakota East (18-7), which knocked off defending state champion, previously undefeated and the state’s top-ranked team in Huber Heights Wayne in Saturday’s district final at Wright State University, faces Centerville (16-10) in tonight’s first semifinal, at 6:15.  The semifinal winners meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cintas Center, with the winner advancing to the OHSAA Final Four on March 18 in Columbus.

After back-to-back losses to La Salle and Elder to begin February, coupled with Georgeton’s season-ended knee injury that occurred early in the fourth quarter against Elder, it appeared that Moeller would not earn at least a share of the GCL South championship for the fourth consecutive year and that a postseason run was anything but a viable possibility.  Think again.

The Crusaders regrouped, with sophomore guard Isaiah Payton stepping into the starting lineup and senior guard Kenny Wead stepping up his game off the bench to win its final three regular season games, including a 43-41 home win over La Salle that earned Moeller a share of the GCL South title with Elder and La Salle for the second straight season.  Moeller won outright league titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

In the postseason, Moeller has won four straight games – including a 61-58 overtime win against Oak Hills, a game in which Wead scored a career-high 16 points, and then a come-from-behind 64-58 win over Springfield in the district final – with Peyton scoring 15 points and Wead hitting the go-ahead three-point shot with 2:12 remaining.  Springfield knocked Moeller out of the postseason last year in the regional semifinals.

It won’t be easy against Wilmington, though.  The Quakers are coming off a convincing 63-38 win over Mason, which entered Saturday’s district final having won 22 straight games.  But Wilmington, which won its first district title since 2009 in the process, got a solid performance from senior forward and University of Cincinnati recruit Jarron Cumberland, who finished with a game-high 35 points and keyed a third-quarter run for his team.

Mason had rallied to within one point, 28-27, with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter when Wilmington erupted for a 23-2 run – keyed by 18 points from Cumberland – to put the game away.  Cumberland scored the last 10 points of the third quarter.  Last week, Cumberland was named the Associated Press Southwest District Division I Player of the Year after averaging 38.5 points a game this season.

However, in Moeller’s 40-31 victory over Wilmington in the regular season, Cumberland was held to 14 points on just 4-of-10 shooting from the field.  The Quakers opened the game by taking a 16-11 lead after one quarter, with Cumberland connecting on three three-point goals and scoring nine points in the first eight minutes.  Moeller held Wilmington to just four field goals in the final three quarters.

This season, Moeller has relied on a solid defense all season – along with balanced scoring.  Against Springfield, junior Keegan McDowell paced the Crusaders with 18 points, and seniors Sam McCracken and Trey McBride each added 10 to join McDowell and Payton in double figures.  McBride is Moeller’s leading scorer, averaging 11, but coach Carl Kremer’s team has had five players average 6.8 points or better all season.

The two schools split a pair of meetings last season, with Wilmington getting 27 points from Cumberland in a 61-46 victory during the regular season at Wilmington.  In that game, Cumberland hit 10-of-12 field goals, including 5-of-6 three-pointers.  Moeller came back to post a 46-43 win over Wilmington in the district final, holding Cumberland to 4-of-15 shooting, including 0-of-5 from three-point range.

Advance tickets to tonight’s regional semifinals, which are good for both games, are $7 and available during school hours in the Moeller Athletics Department.  Tickets are $8 at the gate, and can be purchased at the Cintas Center Box Office.

Posted on 3/7/2016 at 7:08 a.m.

April 13 Games At UC’S Marge Schott Stadium Announced Thursday

A doubleheader involving the four Greater Catholic League South Division baseball teams, scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium, was announced last Thursday as part of the schedule for the fifth Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase presented by Cincinnati Children’s Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics.

Elder will play La Salle at 5 p.m. that day at UC, followed by defending Division I state champion Moeller taking on St. Xavier at 7:30 .  The two games are among a 47-game schedule in the region’s largest high school baseball and softball showcase that features games from April 2 to April 30 at the premier ballparks around Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.

The complete Showcase schedule was announced Thursday at a media conference at the Reds Urban Youth Academy. Showcase Opening Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 with opening ceremonies at 11:30 a.m., followed by seven games (six baseball and softball) to be played that day beginning at noon at the Urban Youth Academy, located at the Roselawn Sports Complex.

Tickets for the GCL South DH will be available at participating schools in advance and at the gate on event day.  Tickets are $5 and are good for both games that day.  With each ticket purchased, fans also receive a voucher good for a free View Level ticket to a select 2016 Reds’ game, along with a coupon good for a free cheese coney from Skyline Chili.

For more information, go to www.reds.com/hsshowcase.

Posted on 3/6/2016 at 2:09 p.m.

Ward Places Again; Shie, Meyer Finish Third In Weight Classes

Moeller senior Jacoby Ward capped an outstanding career by placing fifth at 152 pounds Saturday, the final day of competition in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.  It marked the fourth consecutive year and the fourth different weight class in which Ward placed at state.

Two other Greater Catholic League South Division wrestlers finished third in their respective weight classes – La Salle junior Corey Shie at 132 pounds and Moeller senior Jack Meyer, Ward’s teammate, at 220.  Elder sophomore Austin Murphy placed sixth at 126 pounds, while two other La Salle wrestlers finished seventh, freshman Lucas Byrd at 106 and junior Eric Beck at 138.
   
Lakewood St. Edward continued its dominance in the Division I team competition, finishing with 132.0 points to win state title No. 30 in program history.  Elyria was second with 105.0 points, followed by Powell Olentangy Liberty in third with 95.0.  Mason was the top finisher among Greater Cincinnati schools, coming in ninth place with 46.5.  Moeller and La Salle finished at Nos. 15 and 16, respectively, with 36.0 and 32.0 points.

Ward entered the state tournament having placed each of the last three years, finishing eighth at 120 pounds in 2013, fourth at 132 in 2014, and then sixth at 138 last year.  This time, competing at 152, Ward defeated Andrew Sams of Fairfield by decision, 8-5, in the fifth-place finals.  Ward finished his senior season with a record of 37-9, going 3-2 in the state tournament.

In the process, Ward becomes only the second wrestler in Moeller history to place at state four straight years – joining Pierce Harger, who accomplished that feat between 2006 and 2009.  Ward intends to continue his wrestling career at the Air Force Academy.

Shie – a three-time district champion - made it to the championship semifinals before dropping to the consolation bracket – where he won two matches Saturday, beating Connor Brady of Olentangy Liberty, 11-4, in overtime in the third-place finals to finish with a 43-4 record.  Meyer bested Ben Frye of Dublin Coffman, 2-0, in the third-place finals. Meyer, 44-4 this season, finished fifth at 220 last season.

Posted on 3/6/2016 at 11:30 a.m.

La Salle Unable To Overcome Slow Start In Finals Loss To Centerville

Junior guard Keegan McDowell scored a team-high 18 points, hitting all five of this three-point attempts, to help Moeller rally and defeat Springfield, 64-58, in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Southwest District Tournament Saturday night at Wright State University’s Ervin J. Nutter Center.  The district championship was the third straight and ninth since 2003 for the Crusaders, who also won from 2003 to 2005 and 2010 to 2012.

Fellow Greater Catholic League South Division member La Salle was unable to overcome a slow start and an off-shooting night In Saturday night’s first district final, falling to Centerville, 58-38.  Senior forward Jeremy Larkin had 12 points and junior guard C.J. Fleming added 11 to lead the Lancers, who managed just two points in the first quarter, trailed by 11 points at halftime and were never able to recover.

Moeller (23-3), which has now won seven straight games after consecutive league losses to Elder and La Salle late in the regular season, advances to meet Centerville (16-10), winner of six games in a row, in the regional semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  The Crusaders made it to this same game last year before losing to Springfield, 61-57.

Coach Carl Kramer’s team trailed Springfield again late this time, but senior guard Kenny Wead nailed a three-pointer with 2:12 remaining to give Moeller the lead for good, 56-54.  Wead, coming off a career-best, 16-point performance in a sectional final win over Oak Hills, 61-58, in overtime eight days earlier, wound up with six points for Moeller – which hit 24-of-40 field goals (60 percent).

The Crusaders trailed 34-24 at halftime after Springfield made 9-of-14 three-point shots in the first half, but Moeller’s defense allowed just two made three-pointers in the second half.  Moeller, too, relied on balanced scoring with four players in double figures.  Sophomore guard Isaiah Payton scored 15, while seniors Sam McDowell and Trey McBride each scored 10.  Junior Riley Voss had six rebounds and five assists.

Unlike Moeller, La Salle – which had won three straight and 13 of its last 14 games – struggled from the field against Centerville.  The Lancers made only one basket in the first quarter, a layup by Larkin, and trailed 13-2 after one period. La Salle, which shot under 25 percent from the field in the first half, wound up with a season-low points against Centerville.  La Salle’s previous low was 39 in a two-point victory over Moeller.

The Lancers, who managed just two made three-point goals, lost in the district final for the third consecutive season.  La Salle, however, put together another outstanding season – finishing at 21-4 and earning a share of the GCL South championship for the second straight year.  The Lancers have a combined 45-10 in the last two seasons under coach Dan Fleming, including back-to-back seasons with 20 or more victories.

Two lengthy streaks came to an end in Saturday’s afternoon session.  First, Wilmington snapped Mason’s 22-game winning streak behind 35 points from senior forward Jarron Cumberland  in a 63-38 victory in the first district final.  Then, Lakota East defeated Huber Heights Wayne, the defending Division I state champion and the state’s top-ranked team, 60-57, to advance.  Nationally ranked Wayne entered play riding a 33-game winning streak.

Wilmington (25-1), earning its first district title, will play Lakota East (18-7) in Wednesday’s first regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m.  Moeller is the only team to beat Wilmington this season, using a relentless defense to earn a 40-31 at Moeller on January 23.  Cumberland, the University of Cincinnati recruit and school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 2,00 career points, was held to just 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting against Moeller.

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