Crusaders Face Talented Pickerington Central In Semis


Posted on 3/24/2017 at 4:45 p.m.

Moeller Two Wins From Hoops State Title

Moeller looks to continue its historic basketball season early this evening, when the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Crusaders put perfection on the line against Pickerington Central in the Division I semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ Basketball Tournament.  Tipoff is 5:15 p.m. at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

Lakewood St. Edward (23-5) plays Massillon Jackson (26-2) at 8:30 tonight in the other DI semifinal.  The winners meet at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for the state title.

Roger Bacon (24-4), a member of the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division, plays earlier in the day – facing Archbold (22-5) in the Division III semis at 2 p.m.

The Crusaders (27-0), who opened the regular season with a win against Pickerington North, 63-46, on December 2 face the district counterpart in Pickerington Central (26-2), which ended the regular season ranked No. 2 behind Moeller in the final Associated Press state rankings.  Moeller is vying to become the first Ohio team to finish undefeated since Zanesville went 26-0 back in 1995.  But it won’t be easy against Central, which knocked off Pickerington North, 75-58, in the Region 3 final.  The Tigers, who have won 13 straight games,  are led by 6-foot-10 senior Sterling Manley, who has signed to play at the University of North Carolina.

Moeller has been solid all season, thanks to a stingy defense that allows opponents 41.3 points per game, and balanced scoring – with five players averaging 7.1 points or more per game.  The Crusaders defeated GCL South Division rival La Salle, 38-32, in the regional final – the third win this season for Moeller over La Salle – which gave the Crusaders three of their toughest games.