Moeller Remains Perfect, Moves To DI Final Four

03/18/2017

Posted on 3/18/2017 at 2:59 p.m.

Crusaders Defeat La Salle In All-GCL South Regional Final

As expected, Friday’s third meeting this season between Greater Catholic League South Division members Moeller and La Salle was close throughout – with the league’s top two scoring defenses making it difficult for the opposition to score on every possession.  In the end, like in the previous two games, its was Moeller that wound up on top, this time earning a 38-32 victory in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ Basketball Tournament at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.

The win in the Division I regional final keeps the perfect season alive for Moeller (27-0) and earns the Crusaders a trip to the DI Final Four in Columbus next week.  Coach Carl Kramer’s team will play either Pickerington Central or Pickerington North in the DI semifinals at 5:15 p.m. Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus.  The Final Four trek is Moeller’s first since advancing to the title game in the 2009-10 season, where the Crusaders fell to Massillon Jackson, 57-34.

Pickerington Central and Pickerington North meet in the Region 3 (Columbus) final at 7:30 tonight at Ohio Dominican University.  Massillon Jackson and Toledo St. John’s Jesuit play in the Region 1 (Akron/Toledo) title game tonight, while Garfield Heights and Lakewood St. Edward face off in the Region 2 (Cleveland) final.  The winners of those two games will meet in the second semifinal at 8:30 next Friday.  The state championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

Moeller opened the regular season by defeating Pickerington North, 63-46, on a neutral court behind 17 points from senior guard Keegan McDowell ad 16 from sophomore guard Miles McBride.  And Friday against La Salle, McDowell again came up big to help Moeller continues its historic season.

McDowell scored all 10 of his points in the second half, as Moeller outscored its league rival, 11-9, in the third quarter – keyed by a late basket by Jeremiah Davenport to give the Crusaders a two-point lead heading into the final quarter. Moeller extended the advantage to as many as seven points, but the Lancers kept coming back behind senior guards C.J. Fleming – who finished with a team-high 10 points – and Tre Crigler – whose lone field goal, a three-pointer, pulled La Salle (24-4) to within five.

But the Crusaders responded down the stretch by converting free throws – going 13-of-19 for the game, including 5-of-8 from McDowell – who also had eight rebounds to lead his team.  Moeller outrebounded La Salle, 22-11, and McBride added nine points and junior guard Isaiah Payton chipped in seven.  The Crusaders have benefited all season from balanced scoring, with five players averaging 7.1 points or more per game during the regular season.

Moeller held La Salle to a season-low 32 points, limiting the Lancers to just 10-of-29 shooting (34.5 percent) and only 3-of-11 from three-point range.  The loss snaps a nine-game winning streak for coach Dan Fleming’s team, the last GCL South school to win a state basketball title – finishing the 2010-11 season by winning 14 straight games, including a win over Moeller in the regional final.  La Salle’s only losses this season are to Moeller (three times) and Madison, Wisc., 43-38, on December 30 in the title game of a Florida tournament.