GCL South Friday Night Basketball Preview

02/12/2016

Posted on 2/12/2016 at 7:42 a.m.

Coveted League Championship To Be Determined In Final Games

With three Greater Catholic League South Division members ranked among the top four basketball teams virtually all season in The Enquirer’s Division I area coaches’ poll, it should come as no surprise that the prestigious GCL South championship won’t be decided until later tonight – when the final two league games of the 2015-16 regular season are played.

No. 2 La Salle (18-2, 4-1 GCL South), which owns a one-game lead over Elder and Moeller, can win the title outright with a victory at No. 3 Moeller (17-3, 3-2).  But it won’t be easy, as the Crusaders have lost just one home game in the last three-plus seasons – that a 42-41 non-conference defeat to Centerville last February.  Just over 100 tickets remained yesterday afternoon for the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.

No. 4 Elder (16-4, 3-2)  can earn a share of the league title if it defeats St. Xavier (5-15, 0-5) at home and Moeller beats La Salle.  Should that scenario occur, Elder, La Salle and Moeller would share the GCL South championship for the second straight year.  With a win, Elder also can extend its home winning streak to 20 games – having not lost at The Pit since January 31, 2014, when Moeller won 55-52 in overtime.

There’s little doubt that La Salle is the hottest team in Greater Cincinnati, along with No. 1 Mason – which is 18-1 overall, riding an 18-game winning streak and having wrapped up the Greater Miami Conference championship with a 15-0 record heading into tonight.  La Salle takes a 10-game winning streak to Moeller, with the Lancers’ lone loss in 2016 coming back on January 8 at Elder, 56-50.

La Salle won the first meeting against Moeller this season, 45-39, at home 10 days ago – getting a game-high 20 points from junior guard C.J. Fleming, the league’s leading scorer average 19.4 points a game.  Fleming and the Lancers outscored Moeller, 10-4, in the third quarter to snap a 20-20 halftime tie.  La Salle then moved into sole possession of first place with a 62-55 win at St. Xavier last Friday, coupled with Elder’s 48-43 home win over Moeller.

The Crusaders cruised through January, posting a 7-0 record and grabbing an one-game lead in the GCL South.  But back-to-back defeats on the road to La Salle and Elder last week dropped Moeller one game off the pace.  The Crusaders also lost senior point guard Nate Georgeton, who averages 4.5 assists, to a knee injury.  Sophomore Isaiah Payton has moved into that spot, and had 12 points in a 49-35 win over Lakota West last Saturday.

Eder hopes to finish a second consecutive season unbeaten at home with a win tonight.  The Panthers have been playing well of late, winning three in a row and five of their last six – the lone loss, 39-37, on January 29 at La Salle.  Elder is led by senior guard Frankie Hofmeyer, who averages 17.4 points to rank second in the league in scoring and is shooting 44.1 percent from three-point range (49-of-111).