GCL South Friday Night Basketball Preview

02/05/2016

Posted on 2/5/2016

Coveted League Title Up For Grabs With Two Games Left

It should come as little surprise that the Greater Catholic League South Division basketball championship is coming down to the final two Fridays of the regular season, with as many as three teams having a chance of securing at least a share of the title as No. 1 Moeller, No. 3 La Salle and No. 5 Elder try and move one step closer to emerging as the winner when they take the court for another round of GCL South competition tonight.

The three schools have been ranked in the top five of The Enquirer’s weekly Division I area coaches’ poll all season, and own a combined 47-8 record entering play tonight.  Moeller (16-2, 3-1 GCL South), which is also ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Division I state poll, travels to face No. 10 Elder (14-4, 2-2) in a key game at 7:30 tonight at The Pit in Price Hill.  Moeller won the first meeting, 56-48, January 15 at Moeller.

La Salle (17-2, 3-1), the league’s hottest team riding a nine-game winning streak, is on the road at St. Xavier (5-13, 0-4).  The Lancers are coming off of a 45-39 win over Moeller on Tuesday night, a victory that handed Moeller its first loss since December 27 and snapped the Crusaders’ nine-game winning streak and perfect 2016 record in the process. Junior guard C.J. Fleming, the league’s leading scorer, had 20 points for the Lancers.

Here are the scenarios of how each team can win the league:

Moeller – The Crusaders control their own destiny, and can win the title outright by winning their final two league games.  However, losses in the final two games could prevent Moeller from winning at least a share of its fourth straight league crown.  A win and a loss could still potentially earn coach Carl Kremer’s team a share of the GCL South crown.  Moeller winds up the league schedule by hosting La Salle a week from tonight.

La Salle – The Lancers, like Moeller, also could win the title outright by winning their final two games.  Coach Dan Fleming’s team, which ends its GCL schedule by traveling to Moeller a week from Friday, can set up a first-place showdown in that game with a win at St. Xavier tonight.  The Lancers can earn at least a share of the title with a win tonight, even if it loses at Moeller, depending on the outcome of the Elder-Moeller game tonight.

Elder – The Panthers, though sitting 2-2 and one game off the pace set by La Salle and Moeller, can still earn a s share of the title by winning their final two home league games – against Moeller tonight and then at home against St. Xavier a week from Friday.  Coach Joe Schoenfeld’s team is 8-0 at home this season and riding an 18-game home winning streak.  Moeller is the last team to win at Elder, emerging with a 55-52 win on January 31, 2014.  Elder needs victories in both GCL South games to have a shot – depending on the outcome of the La Salle at Moeller game next Friday.

Last season, the three schools each finished with a share of the GCL South championship with identical 4-2 league records.  All three, too, are considered legitimate postseason threats to come out of the Southwest District when the area sectional tournaments get underway at Fairfield, Hamilton and Lakota West high schools on Monday, February 15. The sectional draw is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.