Moeller, La Salle One Win Away From Regional

03/11/2017

Posted on 3/11/2017 at 9:16 a.m.

GCL South Top Teams To Play In District Title Games Today

Greater Catholic South Division members Moeller and La Salle, the top two area seeds entering the postseason tournament, will attempt to win their respective district finals today and advance to next week’s Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Reginal Tournament.  Both games will be played today at the University of Dayton Arena, which also will serve as a first-round site for games Tuesday and Wednesday in the NCAA Tournament that begins next week.

Moeller opens the afternoon session by facing Walnut Hills in a regional semifinal game at 1 p.m., while La Salle opens the night session by facing Northmont at 7.  Tickets to each session are available at the UD Arena Box Office today for $7.  Each ticket is good for both games of the session, and a separate ticket is needed for each session.

Moeller (24-0), which recorded the first unbeaten regular season in school history and is the No. 1-ranked team in Greater Cincinnati and Ohio at the Division I level, looks to keep its record-setting season alive after surviving a scare in the sectional final.  The Crusaders narrowly avoided their first loss last Saturday with a 54-51 victory over Withrow in the Cincinnati Section 4 title game at Hamilton High School, as junior guard Isaiah Payton sank a shot from near midcourt at the buzzer to snap a 51-51 tie.

The Crusaders will be tested by Walnut Hills (18-6), which has won eight straight games that includes a 52-44 victory over GCL South member Elder in last week’s sectional final.  The Eagles, which won the Eastern Cincinnati Conference championship with a league record of 12-2, are 2-2 against GCL South competition this season – splitting a pair of games with Elder, notching a 60-43 win over St. Xavier while losing to La Salle, 64-50.  Walnut Hills last played Moeller in the 2014-15 sectional tournament, with the Crusaders earning a 48-40 win.

La Salle (22-3), which has won seven straight games since a 47-41 loss to Moeller on February 3, captured its fifth straight sectional title with a 38-28 win over Princeton in the Cincinnati Section 3 final eight days ago at Hamilton. Northmont (20-4), which owns a seven-game winning streak, captured its division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference and then went on to take the sectional with a 63-50 win over Springboro.  La Salle and Springboro last met during the 2014-15 regular season, with the Lancers winning 58-44 at La Salle.

The Lancers, after holding Princeton to single digits in three of four quarters in the sectional final, now own a GCL South-best defensive average – allowing opponents to score only 40.8 points per game, moving ahead of Moeller’s 41.0 defensive average.  La Salle will turn to its talented senior backcourt mates C.J. Fleming and Tre Crigler on the offensive end.  Fleming and Crigler are the top two scorers in the league, averaging 16.8 and 14.2 points, respectively.

The other district finals are Centerville vs. Mason at 3, with Oak Hills taking on Springfield in the game’s final district final at 9.  Winners advance to the regional semifinals, moving just two wins away from a trip to Columbus and the Division I Final Four and four victories shy of a state championship.  La Salle is the last GCL South team to win the state title, ending the 2010-11 season with 14 straight wins – including a 59-40 win over Columbus Northland in the title game.

Today’s winners advance to the regional tournament, with the semifinals scheduled for Wright State University’s Nutter Center next Wednesday.  The regional championship game is set for Friday, March 17 – with the winner advancing to the OHSAA State Tournament the following week.