Moeller One Win From DI Hoops Final Four

03/16/2018

Posted on 3/16/2018 at 6:59 a.m.

Crusaders Face Wayne In Regional Final At XU Tonight

A win tonight against Huber Heights Wayne in the regional final of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Basketball Tournament will continue an impressive run for the Moeller Crusaders.  If victorious, Moeller will extend its winning streak to 18 games, remain perfect in the calendar year and, even more critical, earn the program’s second straight tip to Columbus and the OHSAA DI Final Four.  Moeller made it all the way to the state final last March without a loss before suffering its first defeat to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish as state runner-up.

The Grater Catholic League South Division champions find themselves knocking on the door of another trip up Interstate 71 after a convincing 65-44 victory over Springfield in Wednesday’s regional semifinals at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport led Moeller (24-3) with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists to help his team beat Springfield for the second time this season.  Wayne (25-1) kept its near-perfect season alive with a 56-49 win over short-handed Princeton in the second semifinal.  Wayne’s lone setback this season is to Springfield, 54-47, on the road on February 9.  Since then, the Warriors have won seven consecutive games.

Tipoff is 7:30 tonight at the Cintas Center.

The winner advances to the state semifinals on Friday, March 23 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.  Tipoff is 5:15 p.m., with the second semifinal to follow at 8:30.  The DI state final is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

Against Springfield, a team Moeller defeated, 56-39, on the road on February 3, the Crusaders left little doubt – building a 29-16 halftime advantage and extending the gap to 21 points after three quarters.  Joining Davenport in double figures were senior forward Jaxson Hayes, who had 10 points to go along with  seven re bounds and a team-high five blocked shots, and junior guard Alec Priem, who added 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.   Moeller continued its torrid shooting against Springfield, connecting on 25-of-37 from the field for 67.5 percent.

Wayne will present a tough challenge, though.  The Warriors, like Moeller, have spent time this season ranked at the top of the Associated Press DI state poll.   Wayne finished 11-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division, one game ahead of Springfield in the standings.  And the Warriors have played a difficult schedule, with wins over Trotwood-Madison (90-87), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (68-57), as well as Princeton (72-67) during the regular season.  Wayne is led by senior guard Darius Quisenberry, who averages 18 points, 6.3 assists (second in the GWOC), 5.2 rebounds and three steals.

Quisenberry scored 24 points on 10-15 shooting against Princeton, which was playing its second straight game without seniors Darius Bazley and Dominic Pierce, who were suspended two games by the OHSAA for leaving the bench in the Vikings’ earlier postseason win against Sycamore.  Bazley, a Syracuse signee, was recently named the Southwest District Player of the Year after averaging better than 15 points a game, and leading the Greater Miami Conference in rebounds, assists and blocked shots .  Quisenberry has signed to play at Youngstown State, a member of the Horizon League.  Wayne outs cored Princeton, 31-21, in the second half of its semifinal game.