GCL South Friday Night Basketball Roundup

02/06/2016

Posted on 2/6/2016 at 10:42 a.m.

La Salle Takes One-Game Lead, Elder Stays Alive With Key Win

Junior guard C.J. Fleming made only three field goals, but sank 16-of-18 free throws to finish with a game-high 24 points and lead La Salle to a hard-fought 62-55 victory Friday night at St. Xavier, taking a one-game lead in the Greater Catholic League South Division basketball race.  In the other GCL South game, Elder got a career-high seven three-point goals and 24 points from its leading scorer, senior guard Frankie Hofmeyer, in a 48-43 home win over Moeller – a victory that moves the Panthers into a second-place tie with Moeller behind La Salle with just one league game remaining.

Elder, La Salle and Moeller all tied for the GCL South championship last season, with identical 4-2 records.  This year’s league title will come down to the final Friday night.  La Salle controls its own destiny, with a chance to win the title outright if coach Dan Fleming’s team wins at Moeller.  If Moeller wins at home, where it has lost only one game the last three-plus seasons, and Elder wins at home against St. Xavier, it will be a three0way tie again.

La Salle is guaranteed of at least a share of the league title.

Ranked No. 3 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly area coaches’ poll, La Salle is one of Greater Cincinnati’s hottest teams – having won 10 straight to take over the GCL South lead.  La Salle (18-2, 4-1 GCL South), however, needed a solid second half to get past a hot-shooting St. Xavier team on the road.  The Bombers hit 17-of-30 field goals (56.7 percent), including 7-of-15 three-pointers, while also connecting on 13-of-15 free throws (86.7).

St. Xavier (5-14, 0-5) led at halftime, 28-27, but La  Salle managed to outscore the Bombers, 15-10, in the third quarter to take the lead.  Keyed by Fleming, La Salle knocked down 22-of-27 free throws in the game to overcome a team-high 19 points from Bombers’ senior guard Johnny Bubenhofer and 12 from senior guard Matt Wittrock.  Fleming leads the GCL South in scoring, averaging 19.7 points per game.

It seems almost fitting that Hofmeyer, second to Fleming in the league scoring race at 17.6 points a game, also put up 24 points Friday to keep Elder perfect at home this season.  The Panthers have now won 19 straight at The Pit, dating back to January 31, 2014, when Moeller emerged from Price Hill with a 55-52 overtime win.  Hofmeyer had seven of his team’s 10 three-pointers against Moeller, which led by as many as 10 in the first half.

No. 5 Elder (15-4, 3-2) made up the deficit behind its long-range shooting as the Panthers finished with five more three-pointers than conventional field goals.  Back-to-back three’s by Hofmeyer, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, gave Elder a 45-43 lead in the fourth quarter and eventually sent No. 1 Moeller (16-3, 3-2) to its second consecutive loss after winning nine straight games and putting together a perfect 7-0 mark in January.

Elder -which was 10-of-22 from three-point range and committed only six turnovers - overcame a huge night from Crusaders’ senior forward Sam McCracken, who finished with 22 points and a 13 rebounds.  An 8-2 run to close the third quarter cut the Moeller lead to 27-26 after three quarters.  The Panthers’ defense held senior guard Trey McBride, Moeller’s leading scorer at 11.4 points a game, scoreless for the first time this season.

Moeller senior point guard Nate Georgeton, who averages 4.5 assists to rank second in the league, left the game with an injury to his left knee early in the fourth quarter.  Georgeton returned to the bench with the aid of crutches.  WLWT-TV sports reported that Crusaders’ coach Carl Kremer said Georgeton’s status is unknown and that he will be evaluated further today.  Georgeton has started all 19 games and averages nearly eight points.