Posted on 2/19/2020 at 9:58 a.m.

All Four Teams Well Represented On Impressive List Of Achievers
It should come as no great surprise to anyone who follows Greater Catholic League South Division basketball that Moeller also had the upper hand in the postseason All-GCL South Basketball Teams, along with the three individual special awards, that were voted on by league coaches at a special meeting held last Sunday at La Salle High School.  Moeller, which wrapped up its fourth consecutive perfect league season, had five players named to the two teams, including four first-team members, and had the GCL South Player of the Year in senior guard Max Land, one of three GCL South Defensive Players of the Year in junior Will McCracken, and Co-Coach of the Year in Carl Kremer.
La Salle, Elder and St. Xavier also were well represented on the teams announced this morning on the league website.  It has been quite an impressive year for the GCL South, which takes a combined 56-8 record against non-conference opponents into the postseason. That mark includes a 16-0 finish outside the GCL South by La Salle and a 15-1 mark by Moeller, the lone loss a rematch of last season’s Division I state final to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in early December in Northeast Ohio.
Land, a 6-foot-4 guard, helped Moeller finish the regular season 21-1 and 6-0 in the GCL South. The Crusaders, two-time defending DI state champions, enter the sectional tournament riding a 20-game winning streak, also having won 16 straight in the postseason. Moeller has been ranked No. 1 all season in the Associated Press DI state rankings.  Land is the GCL South in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game, and ranks second in field-goal percentage (62.6) and fourth in blocked shots (1.0) on a balanced Moeller team.  Joining Land on the first team is a trio of Crusader juniors in Logan Duncomb (13.8 points, league-best 8.7 rebounds and 68.6 percent shooting, 1.6 blocks), McCracken (league-best 1.7 blocks and 57.1 percent shoting) and Alex Williams (13.2 points, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals).
La Salle and St. Xavier each had two players named to the first team – senior Jaylen Lemons (10.6 points, to tie for the team lead) and Justin Lovette (10.6 points, 3.6 assists to rank second, 5.5 rebounds, good for fourth) from La Salle, and senior Hank Thomas (league-leading 14.8 points, 7.2 rebounds to rank second, and 1.7 steals to tie for third) and junior Kobe Rodgers (13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals, which ranks second) from St. Xavier.  Thomas, along with Moeller’s McCracken were two of the three players chosen by coaches to share Defensive Player of the Year honors – along with second-team selection Matthew Luebbe from Elder.  Elder senior Willard Cluxton made first team for the second straight season, after averaging 8.1 points, a league-best 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals.
The second team includes a fifth Moeller play in senior Michael Currin; three players from Elder in Luebbe, junior David Larkins (6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks to rank third in both categories),  and sophomore Andrew Harp (who led the Panthers in scoring at 9.6); three players from La Salle in senior Derek Eddings (who lead the league in steals at 3.2), senor Jeff Queen Jr. (10.2 points and 3.3 rebounds) and junior Ayden Schneider; and senior Avery Wilson from St. Xavier.
Kremer was named Co-Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a fourth straight unbeaten GCL season and at least a share of its eighth league title, which is how many awards he has won in a row.  Moeller has won 76 straight games against Southwest Ohio teams and is an improbable 105-5 over the last three-plus seasons entering the tournament.  He is sharing the award with Goedde of La Salle, who led his team to an impressive 19-3 record with losses to just two teams – Moeller twice, one a 45-43 setback in January and the other a 49-48 defeat to Elder last Friday.  His team was 19-0 against its remaining schedule and finished second in the league standings.
Here is a look at the 2019-20 All-GCL South Basketball Teams:
Willard Cluxton, Elder, Senior, 5-8
Logan Duncomb, Moeller, Junior, 6-9
Max Land, Moeller, Senior, 6-4
Jaylen Lemons, La Salle, Senior, 5-10
Justin Lovette, La Salle, Junior, 6-0
Will McCracken, Moeller, Junior, 6-4
Kobe Rodgers, St. Xavier, Junior, 6-2
Hank Thomas, St. Xavier, Senior, 6-6
Alex Williams, Moeller, Junior, 6-4
Michael Currin, Moeller, Senior, 6-2
Derek Eddings, La Salle, Senior, 6-2
Andrew Harp, Elder, Sophomore, 6-4
David Larkins, Elder, Junior, 6-4
Matthew Luebbe, Elder, Senior, 5-11
Jeff Queen Jr., La Salle, Senior, 6-2
Ayden Schneider, La Salle, Junior, 6-3
Avery Wilson, St. Xavier, Senior, 5-10
Max Land, Moeller
Matthew Luebbe, Elder
Will McCracken, Moeller
Hank Thomas, St. Xavier
Pat Goedde, La Salle
Carl Kremer, Moeller

Posted on 2/16/2020 at 6:07 p.m.

Elder Builds Big Lead, Holds Off Late La Salle To Earn Postseason Momentum
It seems only fitting that the final night of games in the Greater Catholic League South Division featured a pair of games decided by single digits.  Moeller, vying to wrap up its fourth straight perfect league record, had to come from behind to erase and early deficit and record a 57-51 win over St. Xavier on the road, while Elder built a 15-point lead on the road only to hold off a furious fourth-quarter comeback to close the regular season with a 49-48 win against the Lancers a few miles down North Bend Road.
Now, the four teams will prepare for their respective sections tournaments that begin this week – carrying a combined 56-8 record against non-conference opponents into the postseason.  Moeller is the two-time defending Division I state champion, and the Crusaders enter tournament play riding a 16-game tournament winning streak and owning a 26-2 record in the postseason over the last four years.
But it was anything but easy for Moeller (21-1, 6-0 GCL South) to extend its winning streak to 20 games this season and earn victory No. 25 in a row in the GCL South.  St. Xavier (14-7, 1-5) jumped out to a 15-10 lead after one quarter and remained tied with the Crusaders, 27-27, at halftime before Moeller was able to emerge with a slight edge behind its customary balanced scoring with four players in double figures.
Leading the way was junior Logan Duncbomb with 14 points, while junior Alex Williams pitched in 12, senior Max Land added 11, and junior Will McCracken scored 10 for the Crusaders – who have now won 29 straight games against St. Xavier dating back to February 17, 2006.  Duncomb also finished with a tea-high eight rebounds. Moeller sank 17-of-31 field goals, good for 54.8 percent, and also converted 17-of-19 free throws to preserve the win.
Senior Hank Thomas led St. Xavier with a game-high 22 points, while junior Kobe Rodgers came off the bench to add 15 points – including three three-point goals – for the Bombers.  Senior Eli Majick also had nine for a St. Xavier team that finished the regular season with a 9-2 record at home.  The Bombers also recorded an impressive 13-2 mark against non-GCL South opponents.
Elder and La Salle, which had lost only once at home this season, were both vying to close the regular season with a win and carry plenty of momentum into the sectional tournament.  After a slow start, with Elder holding a 9-6 lead after one quarter, the Panthers increased the advantage to 24-16 at halftime.  Elder then appeared on its way to double-digit win after outscoring La Salle, 17-9, in the third quarter to take a 42-27 lead into the final eight minutes.
That is, before Elder (13-9, 2-4) struggled at the free-throw line and raucous home crowd sparked a Lancers’ rally that got La Salle to within one point in the final minute.  The Lancers, too, had plenty of chances to knock down what could have been a game-winning basket, but were unable to score – allowing Elder to emerge with the road victory.  Senior Matthew Luebbe and junior J.T. Miller paced the Panthers with 10 points each, while sophomore Sean Keller added nine for the Panthers, who have won six of their last seven games.
Seniors Jaylen Lemons and Derek Eddings, playing their final home games, led La Salle (19-3, 3-3) with 17 and 15 points, respectively.  Elder had an edge in made three-pointers, 6-3, with Miller and Keller each knocking down two.  The Lancers wrapped up an outstanding regular season that included victories in nine of their last 11 games and a 16-0 mark against non-GCL South opponents.
COMING THURSDAY:  A preview of the GCL South teams in the section tournaments.

Posted on 2/12/2020 at 8:51 a.m.

GCL South Teams Finish Regular Season With 56-8 Record Outside League
Junior guard Kobe Rodgers scored better than a point per minutes, finishing with a season-high 29 points in 28 minutes to lead St. Xavier to a 75-60 victory over a talented Taft team in a non-conference basketball game Tuesday night at Taft High School in downtown Cincinnati.  The win gave the Greater Catholic League South Division a combined 56-8 record against non-league opponents this season, including the Bombers finishing with a 13-2 mark against non-GCL competition that included a 13-game winning streak.  The Bombers’ lone two losses outside of the league were in the first two games of the season, at Princeton, 70-68, and at Lakota East, 49-43.
The four GCL South teams wrap up the regular season with the final Friday night of league play this week, with St. Xavier (14-6, 1-4 GCL South) hosting Moeller (20-1, 5-0 GCL South) at 7:40 p.m. Moeller, the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press Division I state poll all season, is 15-1 against non-league opponents – the lone loss a rematch of last year’s state final at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 64-59, back in early December.  Moeller has won 19 consecutive games since its lone setback.
La Salle (19-2, 3-2) hosts Elder  (12-9, 1-4) in the other GCL South game at 7:30 Friday night.  The Lancers are a perfect 16-0 outside the league, with their lone two defeats to Moeller – including a 45-43 loss on the opening night of league play five-plus weeks ago.  Elder finished 11-5 against non-league opponents, with three of their losses coming early in the season while the Panthers waited for members of their football team to join after advancing to the DI state final.  Elder has won five of its last six games.
St. Xavier’s win against Taft was keyed by the big night from Rodgers – who sank 11-of-23 shots, including 3-of-4 three-pointers and 4-of-6 free throws to go along with eight rebounds.  Also in double figures for the Bombers were seniors Hank Thomas (12 points, nine rebounds) and Danny Greive (10 points), along with freshman guard Jack Kronauge, who came off the bench to score a career-high 11.
St. Xavier was productive offensive in all four quarters, scoring at least 17 points in each and jumping out to a 22-15 lead after the first eight minutes.  The Bombers have had a number of impressive wins this season, including a 55-48 triumph over Covington Catholic, Northern Kentucky’s top-ranked team, at St. Xavier on January 28. 

Posted on 2/9/2020 at 2:36 p.m.

League Teams Go Perfect 4-For-4 To Enhance Non-Conference Records

Led by two-time defending state champion Moeller and La Salle, which is one victory shy of closing the regular season with an impressive 20 wins, the four Greater Catholic League South Division basketball teams posted a perfect 4-0 record against non-league opponents last night – increasing their combined records against non-GCL South competition to an impressive 55-8 with one game remaining. 
La Salle, which hosts Elder in its  final regular-season game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, ends with a perfect 16-0 mark outside the league, while Moeller – which travels to St. Xavier in its final game that same night – is 15-1, the lone setback in early December in a rematch of last year’ Division I state final, a loss at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 64-59.  St. Xavier is 12-1 against non-league competition, while Elder has posted an 11-5 mark against an arduous schedule.
Here is a look at GCL South teams in action Saturday:
Moeller 62, Turpin 41 – Junior Logan Duncomb posted a his second double-double in two nights, with team highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds to help Moeller extend a number of impressive streaks with a home win over the Eastern Cincinnati Conference leading Spartans, who came into the matchup having won eight straight games.  Senior guard Max Land added 11 and junior Will McCracken came off the bench to score 10.  Duncomb finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in a road win at Elder on Friday night.
Moeller (20-1),  which one night earlier won its fourth consecutive outright Greater Catholic League South Division championship, extended its overall and homecourt winning streaks to 19 and 46 games, respectively.  The Crusaders, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division I state rankings all season,  have now won 76 games in a row against Southwest Ohio competition and are 104-5 in the last four-plus seasons.
La Salle 44, McNicholas 40 – The Lancers ended the non-conference portion of their regular-season schedule with a perfect 16-0 record by defeating McNicholas, a member of the GCL Co-Ed Division, in a close game at La Salle last night.  La Salle (19-2) was led by senior guard Jaylen Lemons, who had a perfect night from the field – knocking down 7-of-7 shots, including all six of his three-point attempts, to finish with a game0-high 20 points.
La Salle (19-2) also got nine points from junior Ayden Schneider and eight from sophomore Devin Taylor to hold off McNicholas, which made a furious charge in the fourth quarter after La Salle had taken an 11-point lead.  The game was tied, 16-16, at halftime before the Lancers came alive to outscore McNicholas, 18-7, in the third quarter and seemingly take command before the Rockets came alive in the fourth to test La Salle’s unbeaten record against non-GCL South opponents.
St. Xavier 61, Bishop Fenwick 38 – Senior Hank Thomas narrowly missed recording a double-double, finishing with a game-high 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds to lead the Bombers to a win on Senior Night.  St. Xavier (13-6) is the lone GCL South team with one non-conference game remaining, traveling to face a talented Taft team at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Thomas was joined in double figures by junior guard Kobe Rodgers, who added 11 points for the Bombers, who only managed to score 12 points in the first half, added 15 more in the third quarter before erupting to score 34 in the final eight minutes to put the game away.  Junior guard Joe Kirby came off the bench tro score eight points, including two of his team’s seven three-pointers, and the St. Xavier defense limited Fenwick to single digits in each of the first two quarters and just 11 in the third quarter.
Elder 52, Cooper 32 – The Panthers outscored Cooper, 7-3, in the final quarter to expand a six-point advantage and post a road victory in Union, Ky.  The win was Elder’s first in the annual interstate series between the two schools, with Cooper winning the first four meetings.  The game was originally scheduled to be played in early December, but was moved to last night after Elder advanced to the DI state football finals.
Junior David Larkins led Elder (12-9), which won for the fifth time in its last six games, with 14 points.  Sophomore Andrew Harp added nine, while senior Willard Cluxton and junior Scott Nieman each added eight for a balanced Elder offense.  The Panthers led at the end of every quarter, including a 35-29 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.

Posted on 2/8/2020 at 12:04 p.m.

Balanced Scoring Carries La Salle To Road Victory Against St. Xavier
Another season, another outright Greater Catholic League South Division championship for the top-ranked Moeller basketball team.  The Crusaders clinched their fourth straight outright league title with a 63-48 victory against Elder on Senior Night at The Pit in Price Hill on Friday night, extending their GCL South winning streak to 24 games in the process.  Moeller can earn its fourth consecutive perfect league season when it travels to St. Xavier next Friday.  The Crusaders also have won outright or shared the last eight GCL South crowns.
La Salle wrapped up second place in the league with a road victory of its own last night, defeating St. Xavier, 51-42, in what continues to be an outstanding season for the Lancers – who outscored St. Xavier, 20-11, in the fourth quarter after the game was tied, 31-31, entering the final eight minutes.  La Salle’s only two losses are to Moeller, including a 45-43 setback five weeks ago on the opening night of play in the six-game GCL South schedule.  The Lancers are a perfect 18-0 against the rest of their opponents.
Moeller (19-1, 5-0 GCL South) continues to prepare what it hopes will be another lengthy postseason run.  The two-time defending Division I state champions and No. 1-ranked team all season in the Associated Press DI state poll got all it could handle from an Elder team riding a four-game winning streak.  Moeller, which has won 18 consecutive games and owns a 75-game winning streak versus teams from Southwest Ohio, trailed 16-13 after one quarter, rallied back to take a four-point lead at halftime, 31-27, and held just a five-point cushion entering the final eight minutes – when the Crusaders outscored Elder, 19-9, to secure the win.
You can’t shoot much better than Moeller did as a team, sinking 19-of-25 field goals for 76 percent shooting from the field, and then knocking down 21-of-24 free throws, many coming at critical times down the stretch, to help maintain the late advantage.  Junior Will McCracken led Moeller with a game-high 20 points, hitting 8-of-9 field goals, while classmate Alex Williams added 19 on 10-of-10  shooting on free throws.  Junior Logan Duncomb added his eighth double-double this season, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.  Elder (11-9, 1-4) was led by 11 points from sophomore guard Andrew Harp.  Elder, which nailed eight three-pointers, also got eight points from senior Aidan Corey and seven each from seniors Willard Cluxton and Matthew Luebbe.
La Salle (18-2, 3-2) has made a habit of getting off to fast starts this season, and it was no exception against St. Xavier as the Lancers led 13-5 after the first quarter.  But the Bombers battled back and managed to tie it after three quarters, setting up a big final eight minutes for La Salle – which had four players finish in double figures, another staple for the Lancers this season.  Justin Lovette and Derek Eddings each scored 13 points to lead La Salle, while Jeff Queen, Jr. and Ayden Schneider had 11 apiece.   Lovette, a junior guard, also grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.  St. Xavier (12-6, 1-4) was led by junior guard Kobe Rodgers, who had a game-high 18 points, and senior forward Hank Thomas, who chipped in 10. 
All four GCL South teams have non-conference games scheduled tonight.  Moeller plays first, hosting Turpin at 5 p.m. at the Brisben Family Education Center where the Crusaders have won 45 straight games – the last home loss to Centerville, 42-41, on February 14, 2015.  Moeller figures to be tested by a Turpin team that is 17-2, leads the Eastern Cincinnati Conference and owns a 46-43 win against Elder earlier this season.   The Spartans have won eight straight, including a dramatic 66-64 win in overtime last night at Walnut Hills to move to 11-1 in the ECC.
La Salle looks to up its record to 19-0 against everyone not Moeller when it welcomes McNicholas to Monfort Heights for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.  St. Xavier also hosts a GCL Co-Ed Division member in Bishop Fenwick also at 7:30 tonight, while Elder travels to Northern Kentucky to face Cooper at that same time in Union.  The game was originally scheduled to be played in early December, but had to be rescheduled after Elder advanced to the Division I state football final.  Cooper has won the last four meetings in this annual interstate series.  The four GCL South teams own a combined 50-8 record against non-league opponents this season.

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