Moeller Beats C-J, Wins Matchup of State’s Top-Ranked Teams


Posted on 2/3/2019 at 7:33 p.m.

St. Xavier Falls To GCL Co-Ed Bishop Fenwick On The Road Saturday Night

As it has done most games this season, Moeller got off to a fast start to take a double-digit lead after one quarter on its way to a tough 62-55 victory against Dayton Chaminade-Julienne in a  basketball game played early Saturday evening before at capacity crowd at C-J.  The game was a rare matchup between the top-ranked teams from the latest Associated Press divisional state polls and the leaders in the Greater Catholic League South Division and GCL Co-Ed North Division, respectively.  C-J trailed by 18 points in the first half but rallied in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to just five points twice in the final minute.

The victory keeps Moeller (18-0), the defending Division I state champion and Ohio’s No. 1 team all season in the weekly AP DI rankings, undefeated this season and extends the Crusaders’ winning streak to 38 games – also moving coach Carl Kremer’s team one win closer to its second undefeated regular season in the last three seasons.  The loss snaps a 10-game winning streak for C-J (16-2), which moved into the top spot in front of Trotwood-Madison in last week’s DII state poll.  The Eagles’ only other defeat was to Columbus Bishop Hartley, 44-41, in late December.

St. Xavier was the only other GCL South team in action Saturday.  The Bombers traveled to Middletown to oppose Bishop Fenwick, which currently sits second behind C-J in the GCL Co-Ed North with a 4-4 league record, and lost to the Falcons, 58-53.  The Fenwick win avenges a 77-60 loss at St. Xavier last season.  The loss is the second straight for St. Xavier, which fell at home to Elder, 51-35, in a GCL South game Friday and drops the Bombers one game below .500.  The Bombers led 27-23 at halftime, but Fenwick rallied to post the home victory.

Sophomore Alex Williams had a career-high 16 points on a near-perfect night to pace Moeller.  Williams was 5-of-6 from the field, a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line and grabbed five rebounds.  He was joined in double figures by senior Alex Pfriem, who scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, and senior Miles McBride, who added 13 points, four rebounds and team-high six assists for the Crusaders – who led 20-7 after one quarter and increased its advantage to 38-23 at halftime.  C-J got a game-high 26 points from senior guard Milton Gage – whose old-fashioned three-point play with 9.8 seconds left made it 60-55, before McBride converted two free throws with five seconds left.

Fenwick had also cut the lead to 56-51 with just under a minute remaining.

Moeller, which also had an unblemished regular-season record in 2016-17 (22-0) and remained perfect (28-0) until losing to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, in the DI state final, continues to shoot free throws well in the clutch.  As a team, Moeller knocked down 18-of-22 against C-J, which gave Moeller is closest margin of victory and was only the second team all season to come within single digits.  Lakota East fell to Moeller, 61-53, in the inaugural Midwest King Classic at Middletown 10 days ago.  Moeller is winning by an average margin of 26.1 points.

St. Xavier (9-10) managed to sink eight three-point shots at Fenwick, but the Bombers could not hold off a second-half charge by the home team.  Fenwick (11-6) was led by a game-high 23 points from senior forward C.J. Napier, who scored career point No. 1,000 in the game, while senior guard Travis Dahm and .sophomore center A.J. Braun each added 14 points, with Dahm nailing four three-pointers.   St. Xavier was led by 12 points from junior forward Hank Thomas and 11 from junior forward Danny Greive, who had three of the team’s three-pointers.

Elder and La Salle did not play Saturday, but both teams return to the hardwood this week.  La Salle (10-8) will host C-J at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on Bill Cady Court.  Elder (9-9), which has won three straight games, is off until Friday when the Panthers travel to Moeller for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.  A Moeller victory will give the Crusaders their third consecutive outright GCL South league championship and mark the sixth straight year Moeller has either won outright or shared the coveted league crown.  St. Xavier’s next game is at La Salle at 7:30 Friday night.