Moeller’s Incredible Season Ends In DI State Final

03/26/2017

Posted on 3/26/2017 at 9:55 a.m.

Late Jackson Free Throw Hands Crusaders First, Only Loss

Moeller finished its historic basketball season Saturday evening, suffering its first and only loss in the championship game of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ Basketball Tournament at the Jerome Schottentstein Center on The Ohio State University campus.  The Crusaders fell to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, before a crowd of 11,750 at Value City Arena, ending Moeller’s quest to become Ohio’s first unbeaten DI state champion since Zanesville wound up 26-0 in the 1994-95 season.

It seems only fitting that the title game, which included five lead changes and seven ties, would eventually come down to the final possession.  Moeller (28-1) was called for a foul with 3.6 seconds left, and Kyle Young of Jackson (28-2) sank the first of two free throws to give his team a one-point lead.  Moeller had a final chance, but a lengthy shot from senior guard Keegan McDowell hit off the board and Jackson had earned its second win over Moeller in the state final.

Jackson also beat Moeller in its only previous title game appearance, wining 57-34 back in 2010.  Moeller – which entered the game ranked No. 15 nationally by MaxPreps and ended the regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in the Associated Press DI state poll – also won state titles in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

Roger Bacon, a member of the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division, also finished as state runner-up Saturday.  The Spartans (25-5), vying to win their first state crown since the memorable upset of Lebron James and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in the 2002 state championship, lost to Villa Angela-St. Joseph, 54-52, in the Division III final.  VASJ (23-6) became the first team in Ohio boys’ basketball history to play in five straight state finals.  The Vikings, who won three of the last five crowns, also now have a record-tying seventh title overall.

The low score in the Moeller-Jackson game certainly should not have been a surprise to anyone who has followed the Crusaders this season.  Moeller – allowing opponents to score just over 40 points a game – was even better against Jackson.  Young, a Butler University recruit and Ohio Mr. Basketball runner-up, was held to 1-of-10 shooting before sinking what proved to be the game-winning free throw.  He finished with five points, but did grab 10 rebounds.  Both teams were 13-of-37 from the field.

Sophomore guard Miles McBride led Moeller with 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Keegan McDowell added 14 point and grabbed eight rebounds.   The final game ends the best season in Moeller history record wise, and included an outright GCL South Division championship.  Coach Carl Kremer’s team has won at least a share of the coveted GCL South crown the last five seasons, winning it outright three times.  Moeller was ranked No. 1 in Greater Cincinnati in every poll, from preseason to the conclusion of the regular season.