Moeller Looks To Take Next Step To State Hoops Title

03/12/2014

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.