GCL South Saturday Night Basketball Roundup


Posted on 1/24/2015 at 9:53 a.m.

Elder Cuts Into League Lead; Moeller Defense Stifles Wilmington

Senior guard Joey Sabato scored a team-high 13 points, and Elder outscored St. Xavier, 18-10, in the fourth quarter to open up a three-point lead and emerge with a 51-40 victory over the Bombers Saturday night at St. Xavier in a Greater Catholic League South Division game that was rescheduled from Friday.  The win moves Elder just one-half game behind GCL South leader Moeller in the league standings.

In Saturday’s other game involving a GCL South team, Moeller stepped out of league play to defeat previously unbeaten Wilmington, 40-31, in a matchup of two of the state’s top-ranked teams.  Moeller, ranked No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press Division I state poll,  extended its winning streak to eight games with a victory over No. 5 Wilmington and University of Cincinnati signee Jarron Cumberland.

Elder’s Sabato, who leads the league in assists at 5.6 per game and also is the two-time GCL South Player of the Year in soccer, had two of four three-pointer for the Panthers – who have now won five straight over St. Xavier.  Senior guard Frankie Hofmeyer, second in the GCL South in scoring at 17.9 points per game entering Saturday, added 11 for the Panthers (12-3, 1-1 GCL South). 

Sophomore forward Bob Jefferson led St. Xavier (5-11, 0-3) with 16 points and five rebounds.  The Bombers struggled from the field, hitting just 14-of-43 field goals (32.6 percent) and converting just one three-pointer in 12 attempts.  St. Xavier trailed by just one point at halftime, 20-19, and was behind by just three points, 33-30, after three quarters before the Panthers took control in the final period.

The win moves Elder – which had dropped two straight and three of its previous four games after starting the season 10-0 - to within one-half game of Moeller in the GCL South.  The Crusaders, who have won their first two league games at home, were scheduled to play at La Salle (13-2, 1-1) Friday night, but the game was postponed because of the predicted winter storm.  That game has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 2, at La Salle.

The Moeller-Wilmington game was a low-scoring game highlighted by tough defense, much like the Crusaders’ 46-43 win over the Hurricane in last year’s district championship game in Dayton.  That close win last March avenged a 61-46 victory by Wilmington in December 2013 during the regular season.  The Hurricane also beat eventual Division I state champion Huber Heights Wayne that same month.

After falling behind 16-11 in the first quarter, with Cumberland knocking down three three-pointers and nine early points, the Moeller defense clamped down on Wilmington (14-1) – which entered the game averaging 80-plus points a game.  In fact, Wilmington was only able to manage four field goals over the final three quarters – allowing Moeller (15-1) to eventually pull away in the game’s final minutes.

Moeller junior guard Keegan McDowell sank a three-pointer with 4:29 left to give Moeller the lead for good at 26-25.  The Crusaders used solid ball handling and good free-throw shooting, hitting 9-of-10 attempts in the final quarter, to move to a perfect 6-0 at home this season.  Moeller has lost only one home game, falling to Centerville, 42-41, last February, in the last three-plus seasons.

McDowell and senior guard Trey McBride, who had the unenviable task of guarding Cumberland, each scored 10 points to lead Moeller. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Cumberland wound up with 14 points, half of his season average, and was forced away from the basket - attempting only 10 shots - most of the night.  The Crusaders out-rebounded Wilmington, 25-19, led by junior Sam McCracken’s six boards.

Cumberland, who became Wilmington’s all-time leading scorer with nearly 2,000 career points earlier this month, scored a game-high 27 points in the first meting between the two schools last season.  But, in the postseason, Moeller’s defense again was tough on Cumberland – holding him to 10 points on just 4-of-15 shooting from the field, including 0-of-5 from three-point range.

Saturday’s game was televised live by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, the official broadcast partner of the GCL South.  Replays of the game will air at 11 a.m. today and 2 p.m. Monday.  Viewers can watch the replays on TWC channels 99, 311 and 1311 HD.  Scott Leo handles the play-by-play duties, with Local 12’s Richard Skinner providing the color analysis for TWC SportsChannel.