GCL South Holiday Hoops Tournament Roundup

12/30/2016

Posted on 12/30/2016 at 8:58 a.m.

Moeller, La Salle Remain Unblemished In Sunshine State Games

Moeller and La Salle left Cincinnati holding down two of the top three spots in The Enquirer’s weekly Division I area coaches’ poll and, if victorious today, it appears that the two Greater Catholic League South Division members will return from treks to Florida in at least those same positions after both schools posted impressive wins Thursday in their respective holiday basketball invitations to run their combined records to 14-0 this season.  Elder also was victorious Thursday, while St. Xavier lost in Orlando, Fla.

Here is a look at Thursday’s games involving GCL South teams:

Moeller 58, New Mission, MA 45 – Senior forward Riley Voss had team highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while teammates Caleb Canter and Keegan McDowell each added 12 points and Moeller remained unbeaten with a victory over New Mission from Boston in the second round of the Battle at The Villages at The Villages, Fla.  Moeller (8-0), No. 1 in The Enquirer’s poll entering the holidays, connected on 21-of-37 field goals and outrebounded the Titans, 31-19.

Voss was perfect from the field, hitting all six of his attempts, while also knocking down 4-of-5 free throws for Moeller – which recorded 13 assists, with Isaiah Payton and Canter dishing out five and four, respectively.  Voss also added three assists in a complete-game performance.  The Crusaders look to remain perfect when they face Sickles from Tampa in the championship game at 6:30 tonight.  All games are played at The Villages High School.

La Salle 46, Vanguard, FL 35 – Seniors C.J. Fleming and Tre Crigler combined to score 18 of La Salle’s 20 points in the fourth quarter to help lead the Lancers to a semifinal victory over host Vanguard High School in the Kingdom of the Sun Invitational at Ocala, Fla.  No. 3 La Salle (6-0) advances to meet Wisconsin’s Madison Memorial in today’s 7 p.m. final.  Madison defeated Peachtree Ridge from Suwanee, Ga., 46-31, in Thursday’s other semifinal of the four-day, 16-team event to advance.  

This is the Lancers’ second consecutive trip to the finals and third trip there since 2010.  If victorious tonight, La Salle can tie host Vanguard for the most Kingdom of the Sun titles in the event’s 43-year history, with three.  La Salle last won the event back in 2006.  La Salle opened last season 7-0 and advanced to the championship game before the Lancers lost to Dillard, Fla., 49-42, in a game it played without Fleming – who was sidelined with an injury.

Coach Dan Fleming’s team appeared to be in control early after knocking down 6-of-14 three-point shots in the first half, but the Lancers went cold and Vanguard rallied back before its home crowd to cut the Lancers’ lead to 26-24 entering the final quarter.  That’s when Fleming and Crigler took over, with Crigler hitting key shots and Fleming nailing 4-of-5 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.  As a team, La Salle converted 15-of-18 free throws for the game, including 11-of-12 in the fourth quarter and 9-of-10 in the final 2:04.

Crigler finished with a team-high 20 points, sinking 4-of-8 three-pointers, the most important coming with just over two minutes left to cap a 7-2 run and give the Lancers an eight-point lead.  Fleming scored 11 of his 17 points in the final eight minutes to keep La Salle undefeated.  The win was No. 36 in the Kingdom of the Sun for the Lancers, who have won more games in this annual holiday event besides Vanguard, the tournament host.  

North Laurel, KY 65, St. Xavier 48 – North Laurel outscored St. Xavier, 24-8, in the fourth quarter to break open a one-point game and defeat the Bombers in the fifth-place game of the Rock Holiday Classic at Windmere Prep in Orlando, Fla.  St. Xavier trailed 41-40 heading into the final quarter, before the Jaguars from London, Ky. came alive and eventually pulled away to the win.  Brian Gray and Peyton Broughton, an Eastern Kentucky University commit, scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead North Laurel.

Seniors Daniel Keyes and Matthew Budde led St. Xavier (3-5) with 14 and 13 points, respectively, but the Bombers struggled shooting from the field and the line.  St. Xavier connected on just 15-of-44 (34.1 percent) from the field, 7-of-19 (36.8) from three-point range, while making only 11-of-24 (45.8) free throws.

Elder 57, Logan 49 – The Panthers closed the year with a victory against Logan in the consolation game of the Newark Holiday Classic at Newark High School.  Elder (3-3), which snapped a two-game losing streak in the process, opens the New Year by traveling to La Salle on Friday, January 6 to open the GCL South schedule.  Elder, La Salle and Moeller each earned a share of the league championship last season, finishing with identical 4-2 records.  Elder and La Salle split two games last season, with each team winning on its home court.